Paula L. Ettelbrick Award

MCCA created the Paula L. Ettelbrick Award to celebrate unparalleled achievement by an individual or an organization in advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender attorneys. The award is named for the late Paula L. Ettelbrick whose quarter-century of work of organizations like Lambda Legal Defense and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission assisted thousands of individuals. Her career as an educator and mentor at institutions like New York University, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan, helped transform the national discussion regarding equality.

2016 | Lisa A. Linsky

Lisa LinskyLisa A. Linsky is a partner in the New York office of international law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP. As a member of the Trial Group, she focuses her practice on complex litigation, including commercial,products liability, trusts and estates and civil rights litigation with a focus on LGBT issues, and business-related investigations.

Lisa is a frequent public speaker, published author and creator of The Huffington Post blog, “Out and About: LGBT Legal". She recently co-lead a team of McDermott lawyers who submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in the Obergefell consolidated marriage cases. The brief has been referred to by members of the media as the “Animus Amicus” and was submitted on behalf of McDermott client, The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. The partnership between the Mattachine Society and McDermott entails “archive activism” and the rescue of historic governmental documents demonstrating a paper trail of animus and discrimination exhibited against LGBT Americans dating back to the 1940s. The work of the Mattachine Society and McDermott has been featured in a Yahoo News! Documentary entitled, “Uniquely Nasty: The U.S. Government’s War on Gays.”

Lisa was McDermott’s first Partner-in-Charge of Firm-wide Diversity and created and chaired the Firm-wide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual andTransgender (LGBT) Diversity and Inclusion Committee from 2006-2014. For 7years, Lisa was also a Member and Officer of the Board of Directors for LambdaLegal, the leading LGBT civil rights legal organization in the UnitedStates. She is now a member of Lambda Legal’s National Leadership Council and the co-chair of the organization’s National Law Firm Committee and NationalLiberty Awards. In 2014, Lisa became a member of the Board of Directors for the LGBT Community Center of NYC and co-chairs the annual Women’s Event for The Center.

Lisa comes to McDermott with extensive trial and public speaking experience. She was formerly with the Westchester County District Attorney’sOffice, where she ran the Special Prosecutions Division which included theChild Abuse, Elder Abuse and Sex Crimes Bureaus.

Lisa’s awards and recognitions for her work in promoting equality are many. Below are some of the highlights:

  • She was a member of the LGBT Rights Committee of the New York City Bar for four (4) years and chaired the Pride Reception Subcommittee. Under Lisa's leadership, the annual City Bar Pride Reception grew in attendance, sponsorship and visibility.

  •  With members of the LGBT Rights Committee and other McDermott colleagues, Lisa co-authored an amicus brief to the New York State Court of Appeals in connection with the landmark marriage recognition case, before New York State implemented marriage equality for same-sex couples.

  • In 2014, Lisa co-authored another amicus brief, this time with Lambda Legal, in connection with New Jersey’s 2013 Anti-Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (i.e., Anti- Gay Conversion Therapy) law.

  • Lisa has written numerous articles in legal and other publications concerning LGBT civil rights and workplace equality issues, and writes a blog for the Huffington Post called "Out and About: LGBT Legal." Several weeks before the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the Windsor and Perry cases, The Huffington Post published Lisa's insightful and inspirational piece on those cases.

  • Lisa and McDermott have twice been recognized by Immigration Equality with that organization’s Safe Haven award for work representing LGBT asylum-seekers.

  • Lisa has been a recipient of the Empire State Pride Agenda's Equality @ Work award, and the 2013 Women on the Move Award presented to her by the Arthritis Foundation.

  • Lisa was the recipient of the 2013 Art Leonard Award presented to her by the New York City Bar Association and its LGBT Rights Committee.

  • Lisa spearheads her firm’s pro bono partnership with the Mattachine Society of D.C. to uncover the deleted posts of LGBT Americans who were terminated from federal service by the U.S. Government. She has spoken across the country about the many projects she and her team are working on with the Mattachine Society.

  • Under Lisa’s leadership, McDermott has achieved a 100% score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index every year since 2006 and has been designated a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Employees.”

  • Under Lisa’s leadership, McDermott received Equality Illinois’ 2012 Business Leader Award for the Firm’s commitment to LGBT diversity and inclusion.

  • Lisa is a member of the Out in Law Leadership Committee.

  • The NY Observer has singled out Lisa as "Top NY Power Gay".

  • Most recently, Lisa was shortlisted for the inaugural Chambers 2016 LGBT Equality Lawyer of the Year.


The Paula L. Ettelbrick Award celebrate unparalleled achievement by an individual or an organization in advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender attorneys.

About Paula L. Ettelbrick

  • Ettelbrick’s career included leadership positions in some of the most influential LGBT rights groups of the past 25 years: the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

  • She lectured on Sexuality and the Law at New York University Law School as an adjunct professor, and served as lecturer in the Women’s Studies Department of Barnard College, according to the Stonewall Community Foundation.

  • Also served as policy director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Legislative Counsel at Empire State Pride Agenda.

  • Ettelbrick was also the mother of three, and served as Family Policy Director at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Policy Institute.

Pathways Conference

The Paula L. Ettelbrick Award is presented at Creating Pathways to Diversity® Conference. Click below for more details about this event.

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