Selendy & Gay partners Faith Gay and David Flugman have been honored as “Trailblazers” in litigation and 1st Amendment rights, respectively, by The National Law Journal.
Gay was recognized for her successful representation of public service workers in a nationwide class action against Navient involving its administration of federal student loan forgiveness programs.
“There are federal programs that provide mandatory student loan forgiveness for public servants, including teachers and first responders. The Department of Education and its servicers have so badly administered those programs that only a tiny fraction of public servants have been able to attain the forgiveness to which they are entitled. Our lawsuit will help change all that,” she told the National Law Journal.
Gay also represents management consulting firm McKinsey in multiple cases brought by rival Jay Alix challenging McKinsey’s bankruptcy disclosure practices. “Both of these representationsㅡone for the plaintiff and one for the defendantㅡallow our clients to continue their valuable work and remove impediments to that work,” she said.
Flugman began his career at a large law firm doing commercial litigation but always had a strong desire to do pro bono work. “LGBTQ issues are personal to me, and there is a writing requirement at Harvard for which my advisor suggested I write about something that angered me. So I wrote about how to use civil litigation to hold conversion therapy operations to account.”
Flugman represented Garden State Equality, a New Jersey-based LGBTQ advocacy group in successfully defending a state ban on conversion therapies on minors by state-licensed professionals. After Governor Chris Christie signed the ban, it was immediately challenged by religious groups and their allies, including a suit brought by the Liberty Counsel as part of a strategy to push back on LGBTQ rights. “The argument was that this type of therapy was protected speech. That was the constitutional issue and a First Amendment challenge.”
Flugman defended the ban for more than four years, with the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently declining to hear a challenge on it. Since the decision, similar laws have been adopted in nearly 20 U.S. states. “The hope is that the law we have developed will act as enough of deterrent so states can continue to protect LGBTQ kids without all the litigation.”