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Recently named a 2017 “Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal, Meg Canby has been practicing matrimonial law in New York City for 27 years, representing clients before the matrimonial and family court judges in New York City, Brooklyn, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Chautauqua Counties. Most significantly, in the groundbreaking case Brooke S.B., she represented a pro bono client on the appeal to the Court of Appeals and the remand to the family court, which resulted in her client becoming the first same sex, non-biological, non-adoptive petitioner in New York to be named a full legal parent and joint custodian outside of a marital relationship. This case has been reported on in The New York Times, the Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Law Journal, among other publications. As a result of her work on this matter, Ms. Canby accepted the Community Vision Award on behalf of Blank Rome, from the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (“LeGal”).
Ms. Canby was one of only a very few private practitioners named a Commissioner to the recently formed Richard. C. Failla LGBTQ Commission of the New York State Courts, which is dedicated to promoting equal access to the courts and equal participation through the court system by all persons regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and will be speaking on the Brooke S.B. case throughout the state on behalf of the Commission.
A seasoned practitioner on high net worth matrimonial cases, Ms. Canby has framed and drafted appeals and crafted arguments submitted to the Appellate Division, First and Second Departments, and the Court of Appeals, and helped refine the law on issues involving appropriate valuation dates and market force factors to be considered in dividing active and passive business assets; the appropriate limits on prenuptial agreement waivers and limits on the scope of automatic restraining orders; and the change in the law on the issue of same-sex parenting in Matter of Brooke S.B., as well as continually tracking the evolving legal landscape on all issues affecting families in New York State.
Ms. Canby has lectured before the New York State Bar Association on “Representing LGBT Clients after Obergefell” and LeGal on same-sex parenting issues. Ms. Canby has written related articles for the New York Law Journal, including “Same-Sex Parents Still Face Obstacles under New York’s Standing Rules,” and authored articles on issues of gender bias in custodial proceedings and prenuptial agreements. She lectured on a panel held by the New York Women’s Bar Association’s LGBT, Children’s Rights, and Matrimonial and Family Law Committees on the topic, “Beyond Brooke B: Litigating Same-Sex Parenting Cases in the New Legal Landscape.”
Ms. Canby, a graduate of Barnard College and NYU School of Law, was formerly a legal services attorney for DC37 Municipal Employees Legal Services. She handled hundreds of matrimonial cases in the courts of New York City’s five boroughs before joining Blank Rome in 1997. Her career reflects her long-standing commitment to pro bono causes and social justice activism through litigation.
COMMUNITY SERVICE & AFFILIATIONS
As noted above, in December 2016, Ms. Canby was appointed to serve on a new LGBT commission to address LGBT concerns within the justice system and the legal profession.