The new office of Giampolo Law Group, which has a heavy focus on LGBT law issues, later this month will move from 15th and Walnut streets to 319 S. 12th St.
Giampolo, 32, received her law degree from Temple University’s School of Law, during which she also studied abroad, resulting in a degree in Chinese law from Tsinghua University in Beijing. She received her undergraduate degree from La Salle University.
Giampolo, who worked in a franchise boutique law firm and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, returned home after earning her law degree, not sure what she wanted to do.
“I knew I didn’t want to work at a firm anymore,” she said.
After meeting with a gay couple that had had an uncomfortable encounter regarding their sexuality with an attorney, Giampolo decided to launch a business where LGBT couples could feel welcomed.
“There was no law firm out there serving people and creating a safe place where you could walk in with your partner,” she said.
She opened her firm in 2008.
Giampolo serves on several boards, including Equality Forum, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, Victory Fund, the National Adoption Center and Philadelphia Inquirer’s International Visitors Council Board. She is board president of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia and writes a popular blog titled “PhillyGayLawyer.” She also writes monthly columns on legal advice for a variety of papers in the area, including an LGBT-focused piece for PGN.
Giampolo handles issues of family law, civil rights, estate planning, business law, real estate and international law.
She said that about 70 percent of her clientele is LGBT-identified.
“When I opened my firm four years ago, I saw a need for a law firm that serviced the LGBT community and all of their legal needs, not just the obvious needs because of our lack of legal protections in this country like discrimination, proper estate planning and family planning and dissolution.”
Giampolo said she has sought to create a safe spot for LGBT clients.
“The attorney-client relationship is so critical that I think a disservice is done when a client doesn’t feel 100-percent comfortable with their attorney.”
The move, Giampolo said, will further the mission of her law firm — to fully represent and serve the LGBT community.
“I mean, it just makes sense that PhillyGayLawyer actually have an office in the Gayborhood,” she said. “This wasn’t just a typical office move. This was a strategic relocation based around and in order to fuel further growth.”
The mission will be supported by a staff inclusive of LGBT community members.
“I love that my landlord is gay, the maintenance man is gay and even the notary I’ll be using across the street is gay,” she said.
Giampolo also will bring another LGBT attorney to the firm.
“I’m thrilled to say that in February, a noteworthy lesbian attorney will be joining my firm, expanding the types of legal services that Giampolo Law Group provides its clients,” she said.
She added that the new street-level office will be more accessible than her current skyscraper locale, which “leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a lot less intimate when you have to take an elevator 14 floors to visit your attorney.”
Giampolo’s new space has been renovated both inside and outside: new hardwood floors, reclaimed wood trim and, her favorite, an entire wall designed as a dry-erase board for brainstorming and litigation-planning meetings.
Giampolo said she’s excited to celebrate her fifth year in business in the new space.
“If nothing else, the new location will be a huge success because of my energy around it. It just feels like everything has come into place,” she said. “I think it adds an integral component to an already very politically and commercially vibrant area.”
Giampolo, however, will not be the first out attorney to occupy the space.
“The owner told me that a gay attorney used to have his office in the space years ago and that it was really phenomenal for the LGBT individuals in the area,” she said. “It was a different era and people had closer relationships with their physicians and attorneys, and I want to bring that back.”