June 21, 2019 at 5:47 pm EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Comings & Goings
Tony Verona, gay news, Washington Blade
The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: comingsandgoings@washblade.com

Tony Varona

Congratulations to Tony Varona named the new dean of the University of the Miami School of Law. He is the first ever openly gay and Latinx dean at Miami Law. Upon being informed of his appointment he said, “I am deeply honored to have been selected as the next dean of Miami Law, and exhilarated by the law school’s many strengths and opportunities.” 

Varona is currently a professor of law at Washington College of Law. He worked for a number of law firms including Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP. He served for many years as general counsel and legal director of the Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation.

He has written and edited numerous publications, including being co-editor since January 2018 of the Journal of Legal Education, a quarterly peer-edited scholarly publication of the Association of American Law Schools. He was a member of the New York Advisory Board, American Constitution Society; member of the Alliance for Justice board of directors and was founder and chair, Legal Advisory Council, AIDS Action. In addition he has appeared in interviews and debates, or as guest commentator, on various broadcast media, including CNN, Court TV, Fox News Channel, Pacifica Radio, among others.

Varona received his MA A.B., from Boston College, in political science and French; his MA J.D., from Boston College Law School and his LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center, with a focus on civil rights and civil liberties.

Congratulations also to Chai R. Feldblum who has been named the 2019 Spirit of Justice Award winner from GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). Upon announcing the award, Janson Wu, executive director of GLAD said, “Chai combines a brilliant legal mind with a heart and soul dedicated to advancing civil rights. Her work has created the foundation for so many protections that LGBTQ people and those living with HIV count on today. GLAD is thrilled to recognize Chai with the 2019 Spirit of Justice Award.” 

Feldblum said, “It’s gratifying and humbling to be honored by an organization whose values are so closely aligned with mine. We need the legal community to defend the values of equality and freedom, and we need cultural support for those values as well. I have admired GLAD for years as it has operated on both of these fronts.”

Feldblum was the first openly gay commissioner on the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She was nominated by President Obama in the fall of 2009 and served until January of this year. She is also a former Georgetown University law professor, an author and an advocate who has dedicated her career to advancing and defending the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. 

In announcing her award, GLAD said, “Her work at the EEOC was critical to fortifying the legal understanding that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation is discrimination “because of sex,” and that LGBTQ workers are therefore protected under existing federal sex discrimination law. Her achievements while at the EEOC included expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities and developing methods for preventing workplace harassment.”

Feldblum is currently partner and director of workplace culture consulting at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. She attended Barnard College and Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Frank Coffin on the First Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chai Feldblum
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