Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Profile of president Obama’s Armenian classmate Mark Momjian - highly respected lawyer, champion of LGBT civil rights

The Armenian Mirror-Spectator published a profile of well known Armenian American lawyer Mark Albert Momjian who is a highly regarded authority in the field of family law and was involved in a number of high-profile cases.

To my pleasant surprise, I discovered that he was prominently involved in a legal defence of LGBT civil rights in the US too.

I do not know the full details of those LGBT related cases, but the outline of activities and distinctions looks impressive, indeed.

He is also involved in Armenian community affairs and visited Armenia with his wife and two sons.

Among his distinctions:
Recipient of the 2005 Pro Bono Service Award by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, presented for significant efforts to achieve equality by the LGBT community of Pennsylvania.

Recipient of the 2004 Cheryl Ingram Advocate for Justice Award, presented by the Philadelphia Bar Association Committee on the Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men, in recognition of extraordinary contributions in promoting civil rights.

Honored as the 2002 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, given in recognition of dedicated efforts in defending the civil rights of the LGBT community.

Among his community activities:
First Chair, Rainbow Endowment, a nonprofit corporation distributing funds generated by the Rainbow Card, an affinity credit card promoted by tennis legend, Martina Navratilova and supporting projects of national scope in the areas of HIV-AIDS prevention and women’s health care.

Co-Chair, Armenian Church Earthquake Fund, which raised more than one-half million dollars to aid homeless survivors of the 1988 Armenian earthquake.
Below is a brief extract from the article published on The Armenian Mirror-Spectator:

[...] After graduating from Columbia College (where he was a classmate of President Barack Obama) and the Columbia University School of Law, Mark Momjian worked for more than 25 years with his father, primarily in the large Philadelphia law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis, before starting a specialized family law firm named Momjian Anderer this year. Momjian has written more than 50 articles on family law topics for many legal journals, and he also co-authored with his father the reference work Pennsylvania Family Law Annotated (Thomson/West), now in its ninth edition. [...]

He handled an important case involving civil rights for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) community in 2002 before the Pennsylvania Superior Court (an intermediate appellate). Momjian explained, “This was the first case in the US that imputed a child support obligation on a former domestic partner. The biological parent successfully sued her former partner for child support, even though the former partner had never adopted the child.”

Momjian is particularly interested in the intersection between family law and biotechnology — different methods of reproduction, gestational surrogacy, DNA distribution and frozen embryos. With modern technology, family law is a rapidly changing field. Momjian lectures nationally on these and other issues of family law, and teaches at area law schools in Philadelphia. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Drexel University’s College of Medicine, teaching mental health law.

His public service work focuses on problems facing non-traditional families, as well as victims of abuse and domestic violence. He is a member of the board of directors of both the Homeless Advocacy Project and Philadelphia VIP (an organization working for equal justice for the poor). [...]

*picture - via The Armenian Mirror-Spectator

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