Avatara Smith-Carrington (they/them) is a Staff Attorney and former Tyron Garner Memorial Law Fellow at Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the rights of LGBT people and everyone living with HIV.
Current casework includes serving as lead counsel in Fain v. Crouch, a federal lawsuit and putative class action securing summary judgment and enjoining the exclusion of gender-confirming surgical care in West Virginia’s Medicaid program; counsel in B.P.J. v. West Virginia Board of Education, a federal lawsuit challenging West Virginia’s law banning girls and women who are transgender from participating in school sports; and counsel in Campos v. Cohen, a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s policy requiring transgender people to have undergone “sex reassignment surgery” in order to obtain an accurate birth certificate. Notable past casework includes, counsel in The Diversity Center v. Trump, a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping that prohibits federal contractors and grantees from conducting workplace diversity trainings or engaging in grant-funded work that explicitly acknowledges and addresses the existence and persistence of structural racism and sexism in the United States.
Avatara was also part of the legal team that secured the release of two asylum seekers living with HIV who were detained at an ICE detention facility in eastern Texas; and they were lead on the case In re Anderson, which led to the removal of the exclusion of coverage for gender-confirming care from a Colorado group health plan.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Avatara was the 2018-2019 Linda Kennedy Fellow in Advocacy at the Homeless Persons Representation Project, interned with Whitman-Walker Health, and was an Access to Justice Tech Fellow at the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Before entering law school, Avatara worked as a digital campaigner at Planned Parenthood Action Fund in Washington, D.C.
Avatara serves as a Board Member on the Advisory Board of the Kairos Fellowship and, as a Board Member on the Board of the Transgender Education Network of Texas. Avatara has also worked as a Researcher on the Institute of Technology Law & Policy project on algorithmic fairness and disability rights at Georgetown University Law.
Avatara received their B.A. from Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey and their J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Admitted in Maryland and Texas only; application for admission to the District of Columbia Bar filed; practices under the supervision of a District of Columbia Bar member.