is a lifelong New Yorker. In 1979 she attended SUNY Albany on a softball scholarship and earned nine varsity letters while graduating cum laude with a degree in Criminal Justice and Political Science. She went on to Buffalo School of Law, where she was Student Bar President in her senior year. Lori graduated in 1986, and was awarded the President’s Medal of Excellence.
Lori began her legal career in 1986 at the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division, repenting indigent individuals charged with all levels of crimes. In 1991 Lori, along with a law partner, started the first all-woman owned litigation firm in NYC. She worked there, trying 178 cases to verdict over the next thirty-five years.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s Lori became involved in ACT UP, a direct-action AIDS activist group. She represented tens of thousands of demonstrators all over the New York State. In early 1989 ACT UP demonstrators infiltrated the NY Stock Exchange to protest the high price of the AIDS drug AZT, which was unaffordable to most people living with HIV. Several members of ACT UP chained themselves to the VIP balcony and dropped fake $100 bills onto the trading floor and disrupted the opening bell for the first time in history. The demonstrators were arrested, but Lori was able to convince a NYC Criminal Court judge to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice. Four days after the demonstration the price of AZT was lowered.
Later that year, ACT UP members objecting to Cardinal O’Connor’s politicization of his pulpit, demonstrated both inside and outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Eventually Lori represented five of the seven demonstrators that went to trial., which became one of the first trials to appear on the fledging network of Court TV.
In 1991 Lori became active in the The LGBT Bar Association of Greater NY after being awarded their Community Service work for her work with ACT UP and other direct-action groups. In her acceptance speech, Lori called for the group, which had been known as the Bar Association for Human Rights, to come out and change its name to include the words Gay and Lesbian. The name was changed later that year. Lori served as the Association’s Treasurer from 1994-1997, and President of the Association’s Foundation from 1997-1999.
In 2007, Lori was asked to represent one of seven young, African American Lesbians charged in a sensationalized assault of their harasser. Although convicted after trial, her client’s conviction was overturned on appeal. The documentary Out in the Night was made about the case.
Lori spent much of her legal career representing indigent individuals charged with crimes including the first person charged with terrorism in NYS. She dedicated most of her legal career to giving those who could not afford an attorney the highest quality defense available.
In 2012, Lori was asked to join the board of directors of the NYS Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NYSACDL) is one of the largest state associations of criminal defense attorneys in the United States. In 2018 she was President Elect and became President in 2019. As NYSACDL President, Lori lobbied the state legislature in favor of historic criminal defense reform that ultimately passed the state legislature in 2019. In January 2016 Lori also began teaching her favorite subject, Constitutional Law at CUNY’s prestigious Criminal Justice Academy.
In 2012 Lori raised her hand to volunteer at a NFWFWF Annual Meeting. She joined the Board that year and became its president from 2014 – 2017, helping to modernize the organization and shepherd important changes that came to NFWFWF.
Lori now lives permanently on the North Fork, with her partner of sixteen years, Laura Held. Lori is pursuing her new passion of coaching CrossFit at the Cross Fit North Tribe in Southold. She has qualified for her CrossFit Level one certification and also hopes to create programming for the NFWFWF community.