Roberta Kaplan

1966 -

Civil Rights Litigator

Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan is a New York City lawyer specializing in commercial and civil rights litigation who successfully represented Edie Windsor in the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Photo courtesy of Sylvie Rosokoff
Roberta Kaplan

A Cleveland native, Kaplan graduated from Harvard and earned her law degree at Columbia University, where she is an adjunct professor. As a law clerk for Judge Judith Kaye, she worked on Matter of Jacob in 1995, which recognized the adoption rights of LGBTQ couples.

Kaplan is the founding partner of Kaplan Hecker & Fink and continues to fight for LGBTQ rights across the country. In Mississippi alone, she successfully won a case seeking marriage equality, overturned the LGBTQ adoption ban, won approval for the first Pride parade in Starkville after its permit was initially denied, and continued the fight against HB 1523, an anti-\ LGBTQ "religious freedom" law.

Kaplan also co-founded the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund to assist survivors of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Outside of the courtroom, Kaplan is chair of the board of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the nation’s first HIV/AIDS services organization.


United States v. Windsor was a landmark ruling and the case's architect, Roberta Kaplan, emerged as a true American hero.

President Bill Clinton