Honor for former Central Voice columnist

The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Rights Committee recently presented its 2017 David M. Rosenblum GLBT Public Policy Award to Leo L. Dunn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.

Dunn is a former Central Voice legal columnist.

Dunn received the award May 11 at a joint reception of the PBA Civil and Equal Rights Committee, PBA Commission on Women in the Profession, PBA GLBT Rights Committee, PBA Minority Bar Committee, PBA Senior Lawyers Committee, PBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Section and the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.

For more than 26 years, Dunn has served the citizens of the Commonwealth in two state agencies. The first openly gay board member of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, Dunn was confirmed to the board by the Senate in 2015 and appointed chairman in 2016 by Gov. Tom Wolf. Prior to his current role, he held positions as director and assistant director of policy and legislative affairs at the Board of Probation and Parole and worked in various positions at the Department of Agriculture, where he was instrumental in the development of the PA Preferred Program, a state-supported agricultural marketing program used to identify and promote food and agricultural products grown, produced or processed in Pennsylvania.

In addition to public practice, Dunn had a solo private practice drafting various planning documents, including wills, powers of attorney and living wills, for LGBT clients and others. He also taught LGBT legal issues as an adjunct professor at Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg.

During the five years he served as chair of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee, Dunn focused the committee's efforts on creating a record of the need for marriage equality, recognizing that an educational tool would be the most effective way to spark a thoughtful discussion on the topic in Pennsylvania. Dunn's leadership, vision, openness to collaborate and commitment to keeping the project moving were cornerstones in the success of "How Marriage Counts: 572 Ways Marriage Counts in Pennsylvania." Designed to be a roadmap for same sex equality policy and legislation, this report continues to be used by advocates to help remove the barriers to equality.

Dunn is a member of the PBA Corrections System, PBA GLBT Rights, PBA Government Lawyers and PBA Statutory Law committees. He is the former chair of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee, former vice chair of the PBA Corrections System Committee and former council member of the PBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Section.

During his public service, Dunn served on the Juvenile Act Advisory Committee, the Homeless Program Coordination Committee and the Mental Health Justice Advisory Committee at the Commission for Crime and Delinquency.

Dunn graduated cum laude from Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg. He holds three B.S. degrees from The Pennsylvania State University. Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.

The David M. Rosenblum GLBT Public Policy Award was started in honor of Rosenblum, an active member of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee and a staunch proponent of civil rights, who passed away suddenly in 2014. He was a driving force behind the report, "How Marriage Counts: 572 Ways Marriage Counts in Pennsylvania," a joint publication of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee, the Mazzoni Center and Dechert LLP. Rosenblum was the legal director at the Mazzoni Center. The award honors individuals who have effected change resulting in a positive impact for the LGBT community and who have used his or her position of leadership to inspire others to act and promote civil rights and equality.


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