Senior DOJ Official Diana Flynn Moves to Lambda Legal

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March 29, 2018
Diana Flynn

Lambda Legal announced that it has hired Diana Flynn, the Chief of the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, as its new Litigation Director. Flynn will begin on May 29, 2018.

Flynn joins her former DOJ colleague Sharon McGowan, who left DOJ in February 2017 to become Lambda Legal’s Director of Strategy, overseeing both the organization’s litigation and policy work.

In addition, the civil rights organization has hired Charles Fields as its new Chief Operating Officer. Fields brings his experience from a long and distinguished career in business and government to Lambda Legal. He starts April 9, 2018.

Flynn and Fields are part of a dynamic team of veterans and newcomers assembled by CEO Rachel B. Tiven, who took the helm at Lambda Legal in July 2016.

“I could not be more thrilled that Diana and Charles are bringing their incredible talents to Lambda Legal,” said Tiven. “While the Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions has gone from enforcing civil rights to attacking them, we proudly welcome yet another DOJ exile to the fight for full equality for all LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV,” she added.

“Lambda Legal has been at the forefront of every major legal advance for our community and I am excited for this incredible opportunity to bring my passion and skills to the effort to ensure the rights of queer and HIV+ people,” Flynn said. 

Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who as the former head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division worked with both Flynn and McGowan, offered her congratulations, saying, “Diana Flynn’s tenacious advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ people played a significant role in the evolution of the Department of Justice from an opponent of LGBTQ equality to a defender of equal justice under the law irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. Sadly, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the helm, rolling back civil rights progress on so many fronts, it comes as no surprise that the federal government continues to lose incredibly talented attorneys like Diana. Jeff Sessions’ loss is the civil rights community’s gain.”

Pamela S. Karlan, Co-Director of Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and former DOJ colleague of Ms. Flynn, added her praise, “Diana Flynn has an unmatched combination of expertise across virtually every area of civil rights law and litigation and management experience. It's wonderful she will bring all that knowledge and talent to Lambda Legal. At a time when the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV are facing serious attacks from the Trump/Pence administration, Lambda Legal could not have made a better choice than Diana.”

At the Department of Justice, Diana Flynn’s duties included leading the Civil Rights Division’s appellate and Supreme Court litigation efforts. Under her direction, the section filed more than 2,500 briefs in federal courts, and maintained a success rate of more than 80 percent. She personally led the legal counsel project that laid the groundwork for the Holder Justice Department’s application of sex discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on transgender status.

Flynn also managed the Civil Rights Division’s efforts in connection with the Defense of Marriage Act litigation, and worked with the Office of the Solicitor General and the Civil Division on the Windsor, Proposition 8 and Obergefell cases in the Supreme Court.

Charles Fields

Charles Fields is a forward-thinking operations professional who has rejuvenated businesses in the technology, healthcare/pharmaceutical, insurance, energy, financial services and the public sector.

In 2015, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Charles as Deputy Secretary of State for New York. Overseeing the two largest Department of State divisions, Licensing and Corporations, Charles successfully worked address worker exploitation in the nail salon industry, and successfully restructured the New York State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned and operated the introduction of professional mixed martial arts in New York State.

Flynn and Fields join a leadership team at Lambda Legal that, in addition to Tiven and McGowan, also includes Dorothee Benz, hired in April 2017 at the new Chief Communications Officer; Lambda Legal veteran Camilla Taylor, newly promoted to Director of Constitutional Litigation; and longtime Law and Policy Director Jennifer C. Pizer. Hayley Gorenberg, another long-serving team member, is now Lambda Legal’s General Counsel.