Mazzoni Center Names Thomas Ude, Jr. as Legal and Public Policy Director

Mazzoni Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas Ude, Jr. as the agency’s new Legal and Public Policy Director, effective September 30.  Ude brings with him more than two decades of experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including seven years as Senior Staff Attorney and then Counsel with Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people living with HIV.  Ude coordinated Lambda Legal’s work to address government misconduct and support for discrimination, and also focused on employment discrimination, recognition of same-sex relationships and parent-child relationships, transgender rights and the rights of people living with HIV.

He replaces former Legal Director David M. Rosenblum, who passed away suddenly in May, after helming the program for three years. 

Mazzoni Center Legal Services is the only program that provides direct legal assistance to low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with a wide range of areas including discrimination law, family law, advanced planning, insurance matters, and transgender-specific legal issues.  

“We are delighted to welcome an attorney of Thomas Ude’s caliber and reputation as the new head of our legal program,” said Mazzoni Center CEO Nurit Shein.  “While losing David meant we had tremendous shoes to fill, Tom’s considerable experience in high-level advocacy work and litigating cases of discrimination in a wide range of areas make him an ideal person to assume the leadership of our program at this time.  His dedication to LGBT equality and his shared passion for our mission will help transform the lives of many in the Philadelphia region. We feel extremely fortunate to have him on board.” 

Among the high-profile cases Ude worked on during his time at Lambda Legal were Taylor v. Rice (a challenge to the State Department’s ban against hiring anyone with HIV as a Foreign Service Officer), Stern v. Cosby (amicus brief arguing that under New York law, falsely describing a man as gay is not defamatory per se), Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Co. (amicus brief arguing that Connecticut’s law prohibiting employment discrimination because of sexual orientation protects workers from severe antigay harassment on the job), and Cradle of Liberty Council, BSA v. City of Philadelphia (amicus brief arguing that Philadelphia’s decision to end its subsidy of the Scouting Council’s antigay discrimination was lawful and justified).  

“I am excited to be joining the staff of Mazzoni Center,” Ude said. “I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to its strong and vibrant history of identifying and addressing the needs of LGBT people, which led to the addition of its legal service department and is vital to ensuring that all members of our community can access the rights and resources they need.  I am humbled to be succeeding David Rosenblum, whose experience, intellect, and passion continue to inspire many of us, and look forward to continuing the important work of advancing equality for all people who are LGBT or living with HIV.”

Ude joins Staff Attorney Barrett Marshall, who has been with Mazzoni Legal Services as an attorney since 2011, and who served as a certified legal intern before that.  Together they will supervise six to twelve legal interns each semester, collaborating as well with pro bono attorneys from Philadelphia-area law firms. 

"We're thrilled to have Tom Ude come on board at Mazzoni,” said Mazzoni Center Legal Advisory Board member Leonore F. Carpenter, Associate Professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.  “Tom brings a wealth of experience and intellect to the position, and he is also just a terrific person,” Carpenter said, adding: “I can't think of a better person to help the legal community move forward from David Rosenblum's loss, and I can't think of a person better suited to the job of advocating for justice and equality for our clients and community."

Ude graduated cum laude in 1989 from the University of Michigan Law School and clerked for Senior U.S. District Court Judge T. Emmet Clarie in the District of Connecticut. He received his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Connecticut, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude. He is admitted to the practice of law before the United States Supreme Court, the courts of the states of Connecticut (1989) and New York (2008), before the U.S. District Courts for the District of Connecticut (1990), Southern District of New York (2008), Eastern District of New York (2008) and Northern District of New York (2009), and before the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third, Eighth and District of Columbia Circuits.

He has been a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association since 2007, and has also served on the boards of directors of Love Makes a Family, Connecticut's marriage equality organization (from 2007-2009), and the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (from 2001-2010).

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