Among states known for progressive views and laws regarding LGBT citizens, Louisiana is not in the top five…or the top 10…or – well, you get the idea.
Louisiana was among the first states to amend its constitution banning same-sex marriage in 2004, and has laws making adoption by same-sex couples as difficult as possible. Same-sex couples who own real estate together may not have access to the same tax breaks as others, and when a spouse comes out while going through a divorce you can bet it will have an impact on child custody issues. When tragedy strikes a same-sex couple leaving one partner alone, that partner is deprived the rights of a surviving spouse absent adequate estate planning by the other partner.
Sure, New Orleans is there, and its laissez-faire lifestyle is pretty comfortable overall for LGBT folks. But having a “live and let live” attitude doesn’t help LGBT citizens deal with the impact of laws and customs that haven’t kept up with national trends.
This month, the law firm of Delaney & Robb opened in the New Orleans area, becoming the first office focusing on legal issues for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Founded by Ryan Delaney and Brandon Robb, both openly gay men, the firm handles estate planning, family law and custody issues, medical powers of attorney, adoption, and real estate issues. The firm also handles personal injury and general practice.
While the firm’s clientele is not limited to the LGBT community, and while there are certainly other openly gay lawyers in the state, Delaney & Robb is the first legal outfit in Louisiana with a targeted outreach and whose partners have specific focus and interest in legal issues most relevant to LGBT citizens.
“Lesbian and gay individuals and families have legal needs that are outside the realm of what many firms offer,” said Delaney. “While many legal needs are the same regardless of the client’s orientation, there are specific differences involved when same-sex couples buy property together, or separate and need to divide joint holdings. Many LGBT people have come out later in life, too, and go through divorce and child custody issues with a spouse or ex-spouse while simultaneously navigating a difficult transition. We’re here to help with that.”
“My primary focus in the past has been on estate planning for families and business-owners as well as handling successions and assisting clients with the establishment of LLCs or foundations,” said Robb. “Like Ryan and I, many in the LGBT community are entrepreneurs, with successful companies – or new ones – that need legal guidance or services. By focusing on outreach to LGBT citizens, we hope to make a difference for our clients and for the community overall.”
Both Delaney and Robb are graduates of the Loyola University College of Law. The firm is located at 2800 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Suite 213, in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.