Diana Flynn recently retired as Lambda Legal’s Litigation Director. Currently practicing law in New York State, she continues to serve Of Counsel to Lambda.
In her three years as Litigation Director, Ms. Flynn directed and managed all the organization’s litigation efforts across the nation and led the attorneys and support staff responsible for those activities. In addition to her leadership of the program, Ms. Flynn served personally as counsel on the litigation teams of some of Lambda’s most significant cases, including the challenge to the Trump Administration’s now defunct military trans ban, and Lambda’s successful effort to secure fair and equal treatment for trans students in the Drew Adams case.
Prior to her arrival at Lambda in the Spring of 2018, Ms. Flynn served for many years as the Chief of the Appellate Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Under her leadership, the Section established the Division records for appellate success and productivity. She led the Section in its filing of more than 2,500 briefs, and its litigation success rate of well over eighty percent.
While at DOJ, she personally led the legal counsel project that laid the groundwork for the Holder Justice Department’s application of sex discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on transgender status. She also managed the Civil Rights Division’s efforts in connection with the Defense of Marriage Act litigation and worked with the Office of the Solicitor General and the Civil Division on the Windsor, Proposition 8 and Obergefell cases in the Supreme Court.
Ms. Flynn’s successful leadership in the fields of litigation, legal counsel, and civil rights has been frequently documented and recognized. Among the many awards that she has received are the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award for Providing Legal Advice, the highest award given by the Department of Justice for this function; the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for exceptional work in connection with the United States’ successful effort to achieve marriage equality; the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in the Civil Rights Division; and the DOJ Pride’s James R. Douglass Award for contributions to the work-life environment of the Justice Department’s LGBTQ employees. (She is the only person in the history of the Douglass award to receive it more than once.) Finally, she has received the American Bar Association’s prestigious Stonewall Award for achievement in the advancement of LGBTQ rights.
Ms. Flynn recently served three terms as Commissioner of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and a term as Special Advisor to the Commission, all appointments made by the ABA’s President. She is a graduate of the Yale Law School and a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Rochester.