Staff Attorney & Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Program Strategist
Richard Saenz is a Staff Attorney and the Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct program strategist at 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 those with HIV. His work spans all aspects of Lambda Legal’s impact litigation, policy advocacy and public education efforts. Richard previously worked at Lambda Legal as a Help Desk specialist, where he assisted hundreds of LGBT and HIV-affected callers in the headquarters region.
Prior to returning to Lambda Legal, Richard established the HIV/LGBT Advocacy Project at Queens Legal Services, Legal Services-NYC, to serve low-income LGBT and HIV-affected New Yorkers. His legal advocacy has included challenging discriminatory treatment and policies of the New York City welfare agency, and representing victims of domestic violence and people with disabilities in court and administrative hearings. For years he represented low-income HIV-affected clients on issues that included denial of Social Security benefits, public assistance, family law and discrimination.
In addition to legal advocacy, Richard has trained hundreds of attorneys and law students on providing services to LGBT clients and cultural competency in representing the communities. He has presented at national conferences on criminalization of poverty and the intersectionality of race, poverty, and LGBT issues. Richard has over a decade of experience in community organizing and education on HIV, LGBT, anti-violence, anti-racism and poverty issues. Richard led the collaboration between Legal Services NYC and Lambda Legal to create a series of fact sheets on the Marriage Equality Act in New York State, and its implications for low-income people. Recently, he contributed to the groundbreaking report Poverty is an LGBT Issue: An Assessment of the Legal Needs of Low-Income LGBT People.
Richard’s awards include the Michael B. Davis-Elyse Hilton Alumni Award from the Fordham Law School OutLaw, the Community Leadership Award from Queens Pride House, and the National LGBT Bar Association’s Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.
Richard received his law degree from Fordham University School of Law, where he was a Stein Scholar for Public Interest Law and Ethics. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.