For ten years I had a practice designed to provide advice and representation to HIV positive and LGBTQ New Yorkers. I worked on a range of issues including civil rights, discrimination, disability insurance, public benefits, eviction defense, wills and advance directives, name changes, and consumer protection. Through my advocacy and representation in administrative hearings and Federal Court, I secured Social Security benefits, crucial safety net assistance, and health care coverage for hundreds of individuals. I represented dozens of New Yorkers in housing court, preventing evictions and protecting their stable housing. I represented HIV positive and transgender clients in discrimination cases, resulting in significant settlements and a court decision that clarified protections against discrimination for transgender New Yorkers. I also helped dozens of transgender clients obtain name changes and dozens of individuals obtain advance directives, including documents I specifically drafted with a colleague to ensure clear language and respect for gender non-conforming individuals in sickness and in death.
As medication for HIV improved, over time more and more of my clients were healthy enough to return to work. Unfortunately the unpredictable nature of their conditions prevented many from engaging in traditional employment. In 2018, I developed a project specifically designed to empower and assist individuals with HIV and others operate successful self-employment enterprises that bring wealth and economic stability not only to themselves but to their communities. In the three years I have spent on this project, I have worked on hundreds of cases in a number of areas, including contracts, commercial leases, government regulations, and intellectual property. During the pandemic my work was initially focused on ensuring access to unemployment benefits and government grants and loans; at this time, my work primarily involves commercial evictions and lease renegotiation.