Lawyer awarded for LGBT volunteer work

Lawyer awarded for LGBT volunteer work

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 The Pennsylvania Bar Association awarded Philadelphia lawyer Lawrence L. Felzer with the David M. Rosenblum GLBT Public Policy Award in recognition of Felzer’s advocacy for and volunteer work in the LGBT community.

Felzer is the fourth recipient of the award, given May 10 at the annual PBA event in Hershey. His volunteer work includes organizing and moderating panels at Lavender Law, an annual LGBT conference and career fair for legal professionals.

“It’s exciting, and I’m very grateful,” Felzer said. “It’s not for the recognition. I like doing these things. It’s in my DNA.”

Felzer began his career at AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where he later became associate director, managing agency finances and operations. There, he trained HIV/AIDS clients on accessing medical resources through legal means. After the sudden passing of his friend in 2004, lawyer Sean Halpin, he founded a memorial scholarship in his name for local LGBTQ law students.

Felzer is now the senior director of finance and operations at the SeniorLAW Center in Philadelphia, which specializes in protecting the rights of indigent older Pennsylvanians. He also serves as chair of the PBA’s Civil and Equal Rights Committee, which advocates for equal opportunities and an end to discrimination in all forms.

Pennsylvania has a long way to go in establishing equal-protection laws, said Felzer.

“It’s incredibly sad that we are living in a state that doesn’t have any antidiscrimination laws. We are also living in a world where people are trying to turn back the protections that we have already received.”

The Public Policy Award recognizes progress in the LGBT community and the advancement of the rights of LGBT people, PBA GLBT Rights Committee Chair Gerald Shoemaker.

“The committee felt that Larry was the most deserving of the award this year, even though he didn’t even apply,” Shoemaker said. The committee nominated Felzer, he added.

The award honors the late David M. Rosenblum, who was an active member of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee and a staunch proponent of civil rights. Rosenblum was a driving force behind the report, “How Marriage Counts: 572 Ways Marriage Counts in Pennsylvania,” a joint publication of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee, Mazzoni Center and law firm Dechert LLP. 

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