Legal Momentum, formerly known as NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, is the oldest legal advocacy group for women in the United States. Founded in 1970, Legal Momentum is a liberal multi-issue organization dedicated to advancing women’s rights across the country. It is headquartered in New York City with an office in Washington, DC that focuses primarily on policy initiatives and immigration issues.
In its advocacy role, Legal Momentum maintains a public-access database of current and recent cases in litigation of interest to legal practitioners and people involved in or affected by gender discrimination.
Major initiatives and involvement
- Wins Sprogis v. United Airlines (marital status discrimination and age discrimination), 1971.
- Establishes the Judicial Appointment Project and the National Judicial Education Program to increase the number of female federal judges and eliminate gender bias in the courts, 1978-88.
- Wins Tallon v. Liberty Hose, (women as firefighters and gender-bias), 1982.
- Robinson v. Jacksonville Shipyards (workplace pornography constitutes sexual harassment), 1991 and 1995.
- Crafts the Violence Against Women Act, 1994, and its 200, 2005, 2011, and 2013 reauthorizations.
- Authors and works to enact the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, 1994.
- Amicus curiae in United States v. Virginia involving the Virginia Military Institute's denial of admission to women, 1996.
- Founded Women's eNews in 1999 as an online news service highlighting women's issues.
- Lobbyist in favor of the Child and Dependent Care tax credit, 2001.
- Apessos v. Memorial Press Group, (employer's discrimination against abuse victim by denying leave from work to obtain protection orders is unlawful), 2002.
- Amicus curiae in Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, 2003.
- Argued United States v. The City of New York, (interpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as applied to welfare recipients), 2004.
Name confusion and notability
When Legal Momentum changed its name in 2004 it appeared to lose its identity in the eyes of both the non-profit world and the general public, and so hired a marketing firm to address the loss.
- Jones, Rachel (18 April 2005). "All Things Considered". NPR.
- See the Safe at Work Coalition's membership roster.
- Legal Momentum, 'About' web page.
- See the U.S. Department of Justice's list: Domestic Violence National Organizations.
- Legal Momentum, Cases Current and Recent
- Sprogis v. United Airlines, 517 F.2d 387 (Ct. App. 7th Cir.) 1975.
- Because of this effort, the National Center for State Courts now has an entire Resource Guide addressing gender-bias issues in the State courts. Legal Momentum's efforts in the federal courts resulted in the Equal Justice for Women in the Courts Act of 1994.
- See Catherine Pierce's statement made as Acting Director of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on June 10, 2009, section entitled 'Expanding Nationwide Training, Education, and Promising Practices Regarding Violence Against Women', subsection 2, Improving Judicial Response to Violence Against Women Through Judicial Institutes.
- And see Legal Momentum's account of its task forces.
- Tallon v. Liberty Hose Co. No. 1 , 485 A.2d 1209 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1984). (A volunteer fire department may be held liable under section 1983 for violating a plaintiff's constitutional rights.)
- Robinson v. Jacksonville Shipyards, 760 F. Supp. 1486; 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4678; 136 L.R.R.M. 2920; 57 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 971; 55 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P40,535.
- Apessos v. Memorial Press Group, No. 01-1474-A, 2002 Mass. Super. LEXIS 404 (Mass. Super. Ct. Sept. 30, 2002).
- Jonathan Rosenbloom, Do Welfare Workers Deserve Workplace Protection?, Gotham Gazette, February 2003.
- Nancy Schwartz, CASE STUDY: How a Nonprofit Name Change Generated Attention and Momentum[dead link].
- Legal Momentum's official blog
- Records of the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund, 1968-2008. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.