HARRISBURG (Nov. 13, 2020) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) LGBTQ+ (formerly GLBT) Rights Committee will present its 2020 David M. Rosenblum LGBTQ+ Public Policy Award to Ellen S. Fischer of Fenningham, Dempster & Coval LLP, Trevose, virtually at an awards ceremony on Nov. 19 as part of PBA Committee/Section Day.
Rosenblum, an active member of the PBA LGBTQ+ Rights Committee and a staunch proponent of civil rights, passed away suddenly in 2014. He 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, the Mazzoni Center and Dechert LLP. Rosenblum was the legal director at the Mazzoni Center. The award honors individuals who have effected change resulting in a positive impact for the LGBT community and who have used his or her position of leadership to inspire others to act and promote civil rights and equality.
An advocate for the LGBTQ+ community since the start of her career, Fischer handled one of Pennsylvania’s earliest transgender custody cases in 1993 and has remained an active legal ally ever since. With a diverse private practice, she frequently handles same-sex marriage issues and name change procedures for transgender clients.
As an active member of the PBA LGBTQ+ Rights Committee, Fischer currently chairs the Transgender Name Change Task Force that was formed by past PBA President Sharon R, López to develop a PBA report and recommendation regarding proposed legislative or rule changes to protect the safety and privacy of transgender persons in name-change petition processes. Since the report and recommendation was approved by the PBA House of Delegates in May 2019, Fischer has been leading the development of proposed rule language to be presented for PBA approval.
In addition, Fischer is an active contributor to the committee’s Open Court newsletter.
Fischer is one of only six Pennsylvania lawyers serving on the LGBT Family Law Institute of the National LGBT Bar Association. She is also actively involved with the National LGBT Bar Association. In August 2019, she prepared and presented “Transgender Name Change and Gender Marker 2.0” at the annual Lavender Law Conference in Philadelphia.
Fischer is a member of Pennsylvania Bar Association, Montgomery Bar Association, Bucks County Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association, National LGBT Bar Association, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Collaborative Law Professionals of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Bucks County Collaborative Law Group.
She received both a B.A. and J.D. from Temple University.
Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.