To protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, as well as Americans living with HIV.
In 1971, though Lambda Legal was initially denied registration as a nonprofit organization by a group of New York judges who had deemed the organization "neither benevolent nor charitable." Lambda appealed the case to the New York Supreme Court, which overturned the judicial panel's decision in 1973 and allowed Lambda to incorporate with nonprofit status.
Lambda's staff of roughly 100 employees files litigation through a national office and through four regional offices.
Lambda Legal has won some of the most impressive legal victories in the history of American lesbian and gay rights. Lambda Legal was largely responsible for the 6-3 victory in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down sodomy laws throughout the country, as well as the two Hawaii Baehr lawsuits that began the movement for marriage equality.
Lambda Legal has received a small amount of criticism from sectors of the LGBT community who feel that its efforts to make civil unions available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples undermines the progress of the marriage equality movement.
Lambda Legal is a wonderful organization, but it is important to realize that its primary purpose is litigation, with a secondary focus on advocacy. It does not do much local or grassroots organizing.