Uncovering the Courageous Legal Career of Roberta A. Kaplan: A Trailblazer in Civil Rights Law 

 February 17, 2023

Introduction


Sometimes, certain people become so dedicated and so good at what they do that an entire field is not only changed, but elevated. Roberta Kaplan, a trailblazer in civil rights law, is one such person. Her bold and courageous legal career is an inspiration to those who strive to create a more equitable society. This blog post will uncover the various facets of her impressive journey.

Early Life and Education


Roberta Kaplan was born on August 23, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio. She grew up in a middle-class family, and her parents encouraged her to pursue her education. Kaplan graduated from the University of Akron in 1988 with a degree in political science and journalism. She then attended Ohio State University Moritz School of Law, where she graduated in 1991.

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From Law Clerk to Associate in Major Firms


After graduation, Kaplan worked as a law clerk for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She then joined the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where she became a partner in 2001. Kaplan later joined the firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. While at Paul Weiss, Kaplan worked on a high-profile pro-bono case seeking to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Victory in United States v. Windsor Case


In 2013, Kaplan achieved a groundbreaking victory in the United States v. Windsor case. The case challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Kaplan represented Edie Windsor, whose same-sex spouse had died, and the U.S Supreme Court ultimately ruled in her favor. The decision paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.

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Co-founder of Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund


After the #MeToo movement gained prominence in 2017, Kaplan co-founded the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. The fund provides legal assistance to women who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace. Kaplan has since stepped down from her position on the board of the fund after allegations of misconduct were made against her former business partner.

Honors and Awards


Kaplan has received numerous awards for her work, including the Harvard Law School’s Women Inspiring Change Award and the New York Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Kaplan is also a sought-after speaker and continues to advocate for justice and equality.

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FAQs


Q. What is Roberta Kaplan known for?

A. Roberta Kaplan is known for her contributions to civil rights law, specifically in cases involving LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights.

Q. What is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)?

A. The Defense of Marriage Act was a law in the United States that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Q. What was Roberta Kaplan’s role in the United States v. Windsor case?

A. Roberta Kaplan represented Edie Windsor in the United States v. Windsor case, which challenged the constitutionality of DOMA.

Q. What is the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund?

A. The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund provides legal assistance to women who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace.

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Q. What awards has Roberta Kaplan received?

A. Roberta Kaplan has received numerous awards, including the Harvard Law School’s Women Inspiring Change Award and the New York Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Q. What is the significance of the Windsor case?

A. The Windsor case paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.

Q. What is Roberta Kaplan’s current work?

A. Roberta Kaplan continues to advocate for justice and equality in civil rights law.

Conclusion


Roberta Kaplan is a symbol of hope and a reminder of the power of perseverance and courage. Her fearless approach to civil rights law has inspired countless individuals, and her contributions to the fight for justice and equality will continue to be felt for years to come. Let’s all strive to be more like her and create a world where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

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