Judith Lichtman, Esq. A Biographical SketchDavid McCarthy2020-11-11T14:35:19-05:00
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Judith L. Lichtman
Judith L. Lichtman has been a guiding and
influential force in the women’s movement
for more than 40 years. She stepped down as
president of the National Partnership for
Women & Families in 2004, and is presently
senior advisor at the National Partnership.
Her commitment, vision, and talent as an
attorney and advocate have made a
profound difference for women and families
across the United States.
Lichtman often says: “I went to law school
because being a lawyer gave me a license for
activism.” After receiving her law degree from
the University of Wisconsin in 1965, Lichtman
worked for the Department of Health,
Education and Welfare, Jackson State College,
the Urban Coalition, the U.S. Commission on
Civil Rights, and as legal advisor to the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In 1974, Lichtman became the executive director and first
paid staff person for the Women’s Legal Defense Fund (WLDF), which became the National
Partnership for Women & Families in February 1998.
Under Lichtman’s leadership, the National Partnership has been at the forefront of every
major piece of civil rights legislation related to women and families for more than 40 years.
Founded as a small volunteer group, the National Partnership has grown into a national
organization with thousands of members and has become one of the country’s most
influential strategic forces, shaping national policy through its advocacy, lobbying, litigation,
and public education. Lichtman’s vision and the National Partnership’s strength and direct
leadership have resulted in the passage of some of the most important legal protections for
American women and families, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. In 1996, the National Partnership helped
shape key provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that
make it easier for women and their families to get and keep health coverage. More recently,
Lichtman has led efforts to promote patient protections and to bring paid family and
medical leave to California.
Lichtman has been recognized by civic and legal organizations, business and labor leaders,
and others for her strategic abilities, political savvy, effectiveness in creating powerful and
diverse coalitions, and her tireless commitment to building a truly just society. President
Clinton called Lichtman “a remarkable national treasure,” and Washingtonian magazine has
identified her as one of Washington, DC’s most powerful women and Washingtonian of the
Year in 1986. The Sara Lee Corporation awarded her the 1989 Frontrunner Award in the
area of Humanities. That same year, the Women’s Bar Association named her Woman
Lawyer of the Year. In 2000, Lichtman received the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Hubert H. Humphrey Award for her contributions to the advancement of human and civil
Says Lichtman, “For over 40 years, I’ve tried to make this world a better place for women
and families. We’ve come a long way, but our work is far from done. My daughters, and all
our children, deserve a future where every school and workplace is truly free of
discrimination, and where all families have the support they need to succeed at home and
on the job. I know from experience — if we can imagine it, we can make it happen.”
Lichtman lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband Elliott. They have two married
daughters and four grandchildren.