Sharon McGowan Joins Katz Banks Kumin as Partner

Washington, DC - Katz Banks Kumin is proud to announce that leading civil rights attorney Sharon McGowan has joined the firm as a partner. McGowan joins Katz Banks Kumin after serving as Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the nation’s oldest and largest LGBTQ+ legal organization, for the past five years. During her time at Lambda Legal, McGowan developed and implemented the organization’s strategic priorities, led its litigation and policy advocacy teams, and built partnerships with national civil rights groups on intersecting issues.

Previously, McGowan also held several senior positions within the Obama Administration including Principal Deputy Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; and Acting General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel for Policy at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. 

As a senior federal official, McGowan fought to end discrimination in employment, education, housing, health care, and policing, and helped implement groundbreaking federal initiatives including the Affordable Care Act and nationwide marriage equality.  Whether taking on the Trump administration, anti-LGBTQ+ state legislatures, or lawless employers, Sharon brings unparalleled passion, skill, and empathy to everything she does.  

“Sharon McGowan is one of the most effective civil and LGBTQ+ rights attorneys in the country and we are thrilled to welcome her to the firm,” said firm Co-Founding Partner Debra S. Katz. “Sharon’s experience as one of President Obama’s top anti-discrimination attorneys, as well as her deep level of public policy and advocacy expertise, will be invaluable to our clients and the firm’s ongoing efforts to advance civil rights in the workplace.” 

Firm Co-Founding Partner Lisa J. Banks added, “Sharon is a brilliant legal advocate who has played an unparalleled role in securing some of our nation’s greatest achievements in civil rights. Her unique perspective and wide range of counseling experience will be a tremendous asset to our clients in the areas of whistleblower law, employment law, sexual harassment law, and civil rights and civil liberties matters.

“I am thrilled to join Katz Banks Kumin, one of our nation’s preeminent whistleblower and employment firms, and its dynamic, diverse, and talented team.  Since its founding, this firm has been an influential force for justice, and has been dedicated to the values and principles I have spent my career fighting for,” said McGowan. “I feel privileged to be joining forces with Debra and Lisa, whose work I have admired for many years, and look forward to collaborating with all of my new colleagues, many of whom have been recognized as among the best in our profession, in advancing workplace and civil rights for our clients.”

Earlier in her career, McGowan was a Staff Attorney with the LGBT & AIDS Projects of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she served as lead attorney in a landmark Title VII case, Schroer v. Billington, which established new protections for transgender individuals against employment discrimination based on their gender identity and gender transition. 

McGowan served as a law clerk to the Honorable Norman H. Stahl, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as a law clerk to the Honorable Helen G. Berrigan, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. McGowan graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 2000, and graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1995. She is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and New York.