Litigator of the Year: Roberta Kaplan

The American Lawyer


Roberta Kaplan

Edith Windsor was mad. She'd been with Thea Spyer for more than 40 years. The women married in Canada in 2007, and Spyer had died after a long illness. Adding to the loss was a hefty estate tax bill. If the United States had recognized their marriage, Windsor would have been entitled to the spousal exemption. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison's Roberta Kaplan, a gay corporate litigator with an independent streak, took the pro bono suit all the way to the U.S. 
Supreme Court. She 
helped invalidate part of 
the Defense of Marriage Act and changed the idea 
of what it means to love 
until death do you part.


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