Al Gerhardstein, Esq.
Contact Info: email and phone 513.621.9100
Availability: Year round based on work schedule, Guest in Your Pulpit worship services, program lectures, and seminars or workshops at Ohio UU congregations
About Al Gerhardstein
Forty years ago Al Gerhardstein launched a public interest civil rights practice In Cincinnati that since 1976 has had an extraordinary impact resulting in local, state, and national recognition. A member of 1st UU Cincinnati, Al delivered the keynote at UUJO’s first Justice Assembly in 2013. His numerous victories as a creative litigator have advanced justice in four of the issue areas addressed by UUJO. See CV and Gerhardstein & Branch website
Criminal and racial justice. When introducing himself, Al often declares: “I sue cops.” He successfully represented the families of black men who died at the hands of local police, including all three cases involving the University of Cincinnati, as well as victims of excessive force in Cleveland and Louisville. As a result of Al’s leadership in establishing the Citizen's Complaint Authority and the collaborative agreement in Cincinnati, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Ohio Task Force on Police Community Relations sought his advice. The Prison Rights Advocacy Project he founded continues effective representation for the incarcerated today as the Ohio Justice and Policy Center.
Gay/Lesbian Rights. Al has represented numerous gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender plaintiffs in persistent efforts to end sexual orientation discrimination. In Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality, Jim Obergefell pays tribute to Al’s advocacy in the lower federal courts on his behalf. The U.S. Supreme Court made Obergefell v. Hodges the lead case in consolidated actions establishing a landmark constitutional decision when it establshed full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Reproductive Justice. As a representative for all abortion providers across Ohio and local counsel for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Al has challenged local ordinances and state laws seeking to deny abortion services. He has obtained contempt citations against aggressive anti-abortion picketers, abortion rights for prison inmates, and injunctions against a city and state fetus disposal requirement abortion procedure regulations, and a state law regulating medical abortions.
Voting Rights: Along with law partner Jennifer Branch, Al’s equal protection advocacy on behalf of minority voters won a 2012 order to count provisional ballots in a judicial election that resulted in victory for the black candidate. Al sought to enjoin Republican challengers in black precincts in the 2004 Presidential election and won a 1984 injunction that enabled voter registration in food stamp stores. In 2008, Al also won expanded rights for city employees who sought to participate in the political process.
Titles of programs/sermons
1. Police reform including bias free policing, problem solving, accountability and the use of force.
2. Juvenile justice
3. Prison reform
4. Over incarceration of people of color
5. “Seeking Justice: A Civil Rights Attorney’s Journey With Our Second Principle”
What do same-sex marriage, tasers, country music and courtrooms all have in common? Find out as Al takes on a search for justice and, engages both our hearts and heads as we all confront fairness, compassion, and power.
2016 – Making Democracy Work Award (Joint with wife, Mimi Gongold), League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area
2015 – Courage Award, Ohio Association for Justice
2015 – Ally for Equality Award, for support to LGBT Community, Equality Ohio
2014 – Racial Justice Award, YWCA Greater Cincinnati
2014 – Theodor M. berry Award, Cincinnati Chapter, NAACP
2010 – Courage Award, Ohio Association for Justice
2010- Award for Vision, Courage & Commitment to the Continuing Education on Police Reform
2008 – The Diamond Award for Leadership, Service and Support, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region
2008 – Jewish National Fund/Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society Attorney of the Year
2007 – President’s Award, for dedication to community service, civil rights, and to the Sentinels Police Association’s Mission, Sentinel Police Association
2005 – Martin Luther King Spirit Award Baptist Minister’s Conference, Health Alliance of Cincinnati, UC Medical Center
2003 – Charles P. Taft Civic Gumption Award, Charter Party of Cincinnati
2002 – Wright-Overstreet Award for Community Service, NAACP Cincinnati Chapter
2001 – Outstanding Achievement Award, Cincinnati Women’s Political Caucus
2001 – Outstanding Service Award for Representing Indigent
Parties in Civil Cases in United States District Court, Federal Bar Association
1999 – “Champions of Choice” Leadership Award, Ohio NARAL
1999 – “Steward for Choice” Award, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and
1998 – Community Service Award, Stonewall Cincinnati
1997 – Firm recognized for defense of Civil Liberties, ACLU, Cincinnati Chapter
1996 – Human Rights to Prisoners Award - Justice Watch
1996 – Outstanding Service Award as Mediator in the United States District Court,
Federal Bar Association
1996 – Outstanding Service Award for Representing Indigent Parties in
Civil Cases in United States District Court, Federal Bar Association
1995 – Andrew B. Dennison Courageous Advocate Award
Potter Stewart Inn of Court
1994 – President’s Award, for dedication to community service, civil rights, and to the Sentinels Police Association’s Mission, Sentinel Police Association