Non-profit

Legal Momentum

Website:

www.legalmomentum.org/%20

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

23-7085442

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $1,732,012
Expenses: $1,903,051
Assets: $2,279,022

Type:

Left-of-center non-profit organization

Legal Momentum is a left-of-center legal advocacy organization focused on issues such as human trafficking, violence against women and girls, equal educational opportunities for women and girls, workplace gender discrimination, and access to abortion. [1] Originally known as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, it was founded in 1970 by the founders of the National Organization of Women (NOW). [2]

As some of its most important historical contributions, the organization cites the filing of amicus briefs in important court cases. In a one-page 50th anniversary message from 2020, Legal Momentum singled out for special mention an amicus the organization contributed in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins—a landmark workplace discrimination ruling from the late 1980s. Amicus briefs allow parties not representing clients in a case to register their perspective or opinions before the court. Legal Momentum was cited in a law journal as one of at least 44 organizations registering an amicus in the case against the position taken by the accounting firm Price Waterhouse. In cases before the U.S. Supreme Court that have the potential to significantly alter American law and public policy, it is not uncommon for dozens of organizations and persons to contribute amicus opinions. [3] [4] [5]

Founding

Legal Momentum was founded on March 16, 1970 as a non-profit organization by the founders and earliest members of the National Organization of Women (NOW). It was originally known as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. Some of its earliest board members were also the NOW founders: Muriel Fox, Sylvia Roberts, Betty Friedan, and Gene Boyer. [6]

Overview and Activities

In a 50th anniversary greeting posted on Legal Momentum’s website in 2020, Legal Director Lynn Hecht Schafran stated that for “five decades” her organization had “been at the forefront of virtually every effort to advance women’s legal rights.” [7]

Schafran’s letter singles out only one lawsuit as the example of this work:[8]

In 1988, we brought the issue of sex stereotyping to the Supreme Court in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, the first case of its kind, and convinced the Court to rule that employment decisions may not be based on what is now called “implicit bias.” More than 30 years later, in 2020, that landmark decision is at the heart of the legal battle around whether Title VII protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. [9]

In her discrimination case against her then-employer, Price Waterhouse, Ann Hopkins was represented by two private attorneys she had hired in 1984: Doug Huron and Jim Heller. She wrote extensively and positively of their contribution in a 60-page reminiscence on her case for a 2005 issue of the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal. [10]

According to the archive on the Legal Momentum website, the organization’s participation in the Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins case was not as the legal representation for Hopkins, but as the filer of an amicus brief in 1989, when the case had reached the United States Supreme Court. [11]

Amicus briefs allow parties that are not directly involved in the litigation to provide what they believe to be relevant input or perspectives to the court. For cases that reach the U.S. Supreme Court and have the potential to create a landmark change in American law and public policy, it is common for many concerned persons and organizations to file amicus briefs.

Telling the story of her lawsuit, Hopkins revealed amicus participation by many friendly parties not directly representing her:

Doug and Jim had their hands full writing and reviewing their own briefs, reading and responding to the firm’s briefs, coordinating amicus briefs, and preparing for oral arguments. On our side, we had amicus briefs prepared by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO), the Women’s Legal Defense Fund, the American Psychological Association (APA), and the New York State Bar Association. Donna Lenhoff coordinated the brief prepared by the Women’s Legal Defense Fund to represent the interests of forty women’s groups. [12]

The filing of amicus briefs appears to have continued as a major focus of the Legal Momentum’s behavior after their Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins accomplishment.

A timeline “sample” of accomplishments from 2016 through August 2020 listed 32 items, which included non-legal successes such as writing short newspaper opinion pieces (e.g.: “Legal Momentum published an op-ed in the Seattle Times …”) and the forming of partnerships with similar organizations (e.g.: “Legal Momentum was deeply involved in the New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative …”). Of the 32 items noted over the five year stretch, eight were amicus briefs, while three appeared to be lawsuits in which Legal Momentum may have represented one of the parties. [13]

Leadership

Carol Baldwin Moody

In April 2018, Carol Baldwin Moody became the President and CEO of Legal Momentum and had been a board member for two years prior to that. She is formerly the acting chief operating investment officer for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), assuming that role in 2011. CalPERS engages in shareholder activism by using proxy voting, advancing left-of-center corporate policies in the interests of government worker unions. [14] [15]

Lynn Hecht Schafran

Lynn Hecht Schafran is the legal director, senior vice president, and senior staff attorney for Legal Momentum. Since 1981 she has been the director of Legal Momentum’s National Judicial Education Program to Promote Equality for Women and Men in the Courts. She has written and litigated in the areas of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault. [16]

Siobhan “Sam” Bennett

Siobhan “Sam” Bennett is a senior vice president and chief strategic officer for Legal Momentum. [17]

References

  1. “What We Do.” Legal Momentum. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/what-we-do/education-training-equity/title-ix ^
  2. [1] “History.” Legal Momentum. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/about-us/history. ^
  3. Schafran, Lynn Hecht. “A letter from our Legal Director on our 50th Anniversary.” Legal Momentum. Accessed August 21, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/legal-impact/letter-our-legal-director-our-50th-anniversary ^
  4. “About Us: History: Timeline.” Legal Momentum. Accessed August 21, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/about-us/history/timeline ^
  5. Hopkins, Ann. “PRICE WATERHOUSE V. HOPKINS: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF A SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION PLAINTIFF.” HOFSTRA LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW JOURNAL. 2005. Vol. 22, no. 2. Accessed from Wayback Machine August 21, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20150113004115/http://www.hofstra.edu/pdf/law_labor_Hopkins_vol22no2.pdf ^
  6. [1] “History.” Legal Momentum. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/about-us/history. ^
  7. Schafran, Lynn Hecht. “A letter from our Legal Director on our 50th Anniversary.” Legal Momentum. Accessed August 21, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/legal-impact/letter-our-legal-director-our-50th-anniversary ^
  8. Schafran, Lynn Hecht. “A letter from our Legal Director on our 50th Anniversary.” Legal Momentum. Accessed August 21, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/legal-impact/letter-our-legal-director-our-50th-anniversary ^
  9. Schafran, Lynn Hecht. “A letter from our Legal Director on our 50th Anniversary.” Legal Momentum. Accessed August 21, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/legal-impact/letter-our-legal-director-our-50th-anniversary ^
  10. Hopkins, Ann. “PRICE WATERHOUSE V. HOPKINS: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF A SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION PLAINTIFF.” HOFSTRA LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW JOURNAL. 2005. Vol. 22, no. 2. Accessed from Wayback Machine August 21, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20150113004115/http://www.hofstra.edu/pdf/law_labor_Hopkins_vol22no2.pdf ^
  11. “Amicus Briefs: Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins.” Legal Momentum. Accessed August 21, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/amicus-briefs/price-waterhouse-v-hopkins ^
  12. Hopkins, Ann. “PRICE WATERHOUSE V. HOPKINS: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF A SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION PLAINTIFF.” HOFSTRA LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW JOURNAL. 2005. Vol. 22, no. 2. Accessed from Wayback Machine August 21, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20150113004115/http://www.hofstra.edu/pdf/law_labor_Hopkins_vol22no2.pdf ^
  13. “About Us: History: Timeline.” Legal Momentum. Accessed August 21, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/about-us/history/timeline ^
  14. [1] “Carol Baldwin Moody.” Legal Momentum. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/node/1848. ^
  15. “Towards Sustainable Investment and Operations.” CalPERS. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.calpers.ca.gov/docs/forms-publications/esg-report-2014.pdf ^
  16. [1] “Lynn Hecht Schafran.” Legal Momentum. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/node/1850/. ^
  17. “Siobhan “Sam” Bennett.” Legal Momentum. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.legalmomentum.org/node/1849/. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1971

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Jun Form 990 $1,732,012 $1,903,051 $2,279,022 $153,591 Y $1,671,879 $2,552 $36,790 $201,885 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $1,865,626 $2,191,015 $2,469,177 $153,776 N $2,032,108 $46,234 $21,061 $201,260 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $2,730,572 $2,585,286 $2,880,203 $264,444 N $2,392,967 $143,483 $19,890 $255,073
    2015 Jun Form 990 $2,961,343 $2,642,853 $2,662,642 $187,453 N $2,738,591 $67,908 $33,654 $716,833 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $2,783,303 $3,330,795 $2,479,420 $288,561 N $2,457,710 $23,867 $33,157 $600,654 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $2,002,481 $3,539,160 $3,170,155 $473,021 N $1,632,718 $34,786 $34,977 $706,176 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $3,925,608 $3,201,892 $4,773,695 $582,263 N $3,515,516 $0 $34,162 $504,960 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $4,776,275 $3,920,331 $4,169,498 $670,069 N $4,388,272 $0 $19,379 $597,820 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Legal Momentum

    16 EAST 34TH STREET 6TH FLOOR
    NEW YORK, NY 10016-4310