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Susan Silber

Areas of Practice

Ms. Silber is an experienced litigator in family, employment, civil rights, criminal, juvenile, and municipal law. In addition to drafting, counseling, negotiation and litigation, Susan is an experienced mediator and is trained in collaborative law.

Professional Background

Ms. Silber has been the City Attorney for the City of Takoma Park for over 20 years, and her successful representation of Takoma Park led to the firm’s representation of several other Maryland municipalities, including Mount Rainier and North Brentwood.

 

Employment & Civil Rights

Ms. Silber has been actively engaged in employment and labor law throughout her career. She taught at Antioch Law School in Washington , DC and while there, directed a legal clinic for the Urban Law Institute on employment issues concerning women. She drafted an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court for national women’s organizations on affirmative action. She also co-founded the National Committee on Pay Equity. Ms. Silber later served as a staff attorney for a federal labor union before beginning her private practice.

Ms. Silber has served as co-chairperson of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the Individual Rights Section of the DC Bar. She later appeared on public television on behalf of the Montgomery County Bar Association’s section on Employment Law to provide public education on employment law. She has also spoken to numerous groups on sexual harassment, severance agreements, civil rights and discrimination, including the Council of Education in Management, Personnel Law Update, the Interstate Conference of Employment Security Agencies, and the Maryland Municipal League.

Family Law

Ms. Silber has represented men and women in all aspects of family law, including guardianships, adoptions, separation agreements, divorce, and prenuptuals. She believes in working with therapists, financial planners and accountants to achieve the best results. If families are willing to commit to non-adversarial approaches, she provides collaborative law and mediation.

Susan has spoken extensively on Lesbian and Gay parenting issues (including custody, adoption, alternative fertilization, surrogacy, and documents to protect unmarried and same-sex families). She has been featured on national television and radio and has been the guest speaker at two D.C. Bar Annual Conventions, the Passages Conference, the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the Gay and Lesbian section of the D.C. Bar, and the Montgomery County bar. Susan co-chaired the Gay and Lesbian Section of the D.C. Bar for several years in the early 1980’s, before she began raising children.

Susan’s family (with two children and two moms) has been featured in three books:

Reinventing the Family by Laura Benkov, PhD (1994)
The Case for Same-Sex Marriage by William N. Eskridge, Jr. (1996)
The Families of Value by Robert A. Bernstein (2005)
The family was also interviewed by Barbara Walters on “20/20.”

Susan is a member of a network of experts from around the country, the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Professional Affiliations

  1. Montgomery County Bar Association
  2. Prince George’s County Bar Association
  3. Maryland Women’s Bar Association(and local chapters)
  4. Maryland State Bar Association
  5. American Civil Liberties Union (also served on Montgomery County Board of Directors, 1983-1986)
  6. National Lawyers Guild (also served on Board of Directors)
  7. National Gay and Lesbian Attorneys Association (and local chapters)
  8. National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
  9. International Municipal Lawyers Association (also served as Maryland State Chair)

Section Leadership:

  1. Co-chaired D.C. Bar, Equal Employment Opportunity Section
  2. Co-chaired, D.C. Bar Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, Subsection on Lesbian and Gay Rights

Appointments

  1. Women’s Commission, Montgomery County, Md.
  2. Co-chair, Pay Equity Coalition, Montgomery County, Md.
  3. City Attorney Appointments Appointed by Maryland State Bar President to Anti-Discrimination Committee (2002-present)
  4. President, Maryland Municipal Attorneys Association (2008-2009)

Bar Admissions

  1. State of Maryland (admitted 1981)
  2. District of Columbia (admitted 1979)
  3. State of New York (admitted 1977)

Court Admissions

  1. Maryland State Courts
  2. District of Columbia Courts
  3. U.S. Supreme Court
  4. Federal Courts in the District of Columbia, Maryland and New York, including Federal Circuit

Education

  1. LJ.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, (1976)
  2. Diploma of the International and Comparative Law of Human Rights, International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France (1975)
  3. State University of New York at Buffalo, Teaching Fellowship in English Graduate Department (1971-1972)
  4. B.A., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1971), summa cum laude

Publications

  1. Co-authored “Rights of Waitresses”, Women’s Legal Defense Fund
  2. Co-authored chapter on “Clerical Health and Safety: Strategies and Activities by Public Sector Unions” in book Human Aspects in Office Automation, published by Elsevier, 1984.
  3. Co-authored “Premarital Agreements and Contracts for Living Together”, MICPEL, 1992.
  4. Legal columns for such publications as the Montgomery County Sentinel and the Washington Blade.

Noteworthy Legal Achievements

CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. PREVIOUS SUCCESSES DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE FIRM.

  • Spearheaded successful legal efforts in City of Takoma Park v. Citizens for Decent Government in which the Maryland Court of Appeals preserved sexual orientation amendments to Montgomery County’s Human Relations Law from referendum attack, 483 A.2d 348 (Md. 1984).
  • Chaired 6-school, county-wide legal effort to demonstrate the pattern of racial discrimination underlying the projected closures of certain integrated schools.
  • Represented SOCS, the community group fighting closure of Takoma Park Junior High School.
  • Founded the National Committee of Pay Equity, a major coalition of government representatives, civil rights and women’s organizations, international labor unions, professional organizations and scholars.
  • Won restoration of joint custody for father with AIDS in Roe v. Doe, Montgomery County Circuit Court, Civil Action #28094.
  • Won right of a defacto second mother to have a Maryland court consider her parental rights after her child’s biological mother moved with the child to another state that did not recognize rights of de facto parents in Gestl v. Frederick . Md. Court of Special Appeals.
  • Won visitation rights after a trial for nonbiological lesbian mother in Fountain v. Goff. Prince George’s County Circuit Court.
  • Won right of gay father to live with his partner and child in Maryland after a Virginia Court Order had prohibited their living together in Hedberg v. Detthow, Maryland Court of Special Appeals and Montgomery County Circuit Court.