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JULY 17, 2013 – Paul Southwick, a 29-year-old litigation associate in the Portland, Ore., office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, has been named one of the 40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.
The annual list honors 40 legal professionals under the age of 40 "who have distinguished themselves in their field and have demonstrated a profound commitment to LGBT equality." Southwick is the only honoree from Oregon on this year's list.
"We are thrilled that Paul is receiving this much-deserved recognition," said Dave Baca, managing partner of Davis Wright Tremaine. "His combination of outstanding legal skills and passion for advancing LGBT rights benefits the firm, our clients, and society at large."
This year, Southwick took on pro bono representation of a Filipino nursing student whose admission to California Baptist University was revoked after administrators became aware she was transgender. Southwick filed a discrimination suit on her behalf, and recently prevailed in an early ruling. In May, a Riverside County Superior Court judge rejected the defendant’s attempt to throw out the suit on grounds that, as a religious institution, the university was not subject to the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Southwick maintains an active litigation practice and was a key player in one of the biggest civil actions in recent Portland history. He was part of DWT’s team representing a group of Sikh Darma ministers in a $50 million lawsuit seeking to recover misappropriated assets associated with a nationally known natural foods empire. The case culminated in a four-week bench trial, after which the judge ruled in favor of Davis Wright’s client on every point.
Two years ago, Southwick argued and won a pro bono case before the Oregon State Supreme Court, and was publicly praised later by Chief Justice Paul De Muniz for his skillful arguments.
Southwick has also been a leader in the national effort to persuade Christian institutions of higher learning to be more accepting of LGBT students. Last year he founded a group called OneGeorgeFox, which has successfully worked with Southwick’s own alma mater, George Fox University, to promote more tolerant policies. Southwick has written and spoken extensively on the issue, on platforms such as Oregon Public Radio and The Huffington Post, and he oversees a video project on Facebook called "On God’s Campus: Voices from the Queer Underground," which presents weekly interviews with current and former students at Christian institutions around the country.
Southwick joined Davis Wright shortly after graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 2009. Earlier this year, he was recognized as a “Queer Hero” by the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest and Portland’s LBTQ Community Center.
About Davis Wright Tremaine
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is a national law firm with approximately 500 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit www.dwt.com.