Exercising Advocacy
Michael Lupton ’12 champions solutions to stop LGBTQ persecution
by Brooke Thames
It took several years as a paralegal for Michael Lupton ’12 to commit to law school after Bucknell. Lupton wanted to get a true, firsthand sense of what lawyers did beyond what he’d seen on TV, and even after passing the bar, he’s kept exploring. Now, more than three years into a career in environmental litigation, Lupton is also advocating for human rights.

In January 2020, Lupton became one of 30 new inductees to the junior board of AsylumConnect, an innovative digital platform that helps persons fleeing LGBTQ persecution find refuge in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The website and mobile app feature robust search engines for locating LGBTQ- and immigrant-affirming resources and services, ranging from housing, nutrition and employment to medical and mental health.

Michael Lupton headshot
Photo: Courtesy of Blank Rome
A litigator for Philadelphia- based Blank Rome, Michael Lupton ’12 is committed to helping asylum seekers in his free time.
“It’s all about providing ease of mind for those who, depending on their background, might be discriminated against — or worse — for disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity,” says Lupton, who double majored in English and philosophy before attending Brooklyn Law School. “Having done pro bono work with asylum seekers in my career, I was drawn to AsylumConnect as an even bigger chance to have a broader impact,” he says.

As part of the junior board, Lupton helps organize fundraising efforts such as auctions and public talks, which have been virtual during the pandemic. The most recent event, an online silent auction, featured artwork and jewelry crafted by a transgender store owner from New York City’s West Village.

The role adds advocacy to Lupton’s legal work with Blank Rome — practicing in its litigation group since 2018 and working with the firm’s pro bono program. He credits Bucknell for providing the writing, critical thinking and communication skills to succeed in the courtroom and the boardroom.

“Connecting with professors in both of my majors and learning so closely from them was a great experience,” he says. “In hindsight, I think both of those factors were conducive to what I’ve been able to accomplish in my career and with AsylumConnect.”