About Henry Sias

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Henry Sias is a transgender man, an attorney who clerked for some of the best judges in Pennsylvania and worked for some of the most prestigious law firms, and a statewide leader in advocating for the LGBTQ community. Henry graduated magna cum laude from Western Michigan University and earned his JD from Yale Law School.

Henry’s father was an air traffic controller in 1981. When the union air traffic control strike was broken and the controllers were fired and banned from federal service, his family lost its house and fell apart. He went to five public elementary schools in the next six years, primarily raised by his single mother, living in low income housing.

He started law school at Yale in 2002, and during his first year LGBTQ students assisted faculty on an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas. That summer, when the case was decided it changed the legal and social atmosphere fundamentally by invalidating laws that made same-sex amorous conduct illegal. It fulfilled this nation’s promise of fairness to all communities. By his third year of law school, Henry knew classmates in same-sex relationships who were getting married in Massachusetts and San Francisco. It was an intoxicating atmosphere of possibility, an incredible time to go to law school for someone from the LGBTQ community. Henry developed a strong appetite for civil rights work, one that has fueled many years of advocacy for criminal justice reform, for fair treatment for immigrants, and for fair treatment at work for all workers.

After law school, Henry worked for top law firms including Blank Rome, LLP and clerked for two Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (Justice James J. Fitzgerald III and Justice Jane Cutler Greenspan) and two judges in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (Judge Barbara McDermott in Criminal Court, and Judge Kenneth Powell in the Mass Tort Program of Civil Court).

Henry also co-founded a legal non-profit that has performed thousands of pro bono expungements for low-income Philadelphians. He currently works on criminal justice reform, with an emphasis on indigent defense and improving standards for transgender persons in the legal system. Governor Tom Wolf named Henry to serve as a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. He has also represented several transgender individuals, as part of his pro bono work, in name changes and in cases involving medical care and coverage.  

In his private practice, Henry manages an appellate-oriented civil rights and immigration practice in Philadelphia, representing victims of discrimination in employment, housing, and other opportunities. Henry is teaching Appellate Advocacy this term at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

Henry and his wife Carey have been married since 2013. She works as the Assistant Director of Technology Services at Jenkins Law Library, which is where they met. They live in Passyunk Square with their three cats, Chi-Chi, Franky and Bitsy.