Founding Executive Director Brad Sears Transitions to New Role at the Williams Institute

After 15 years, Brad Sears Steps Down as Executive Director


Brad Sears

LOS ANGELES – Brad Sears, the founding Executive Director and Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law and Policy, will be transitioning to a different role at the Williams Institute and UCLA School of Law.  Mr. Sears will continue his vital law and policy work at the Williams Institute but will step down as Executive Director.  He will remain the Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Centers at UCLA Law School.

“Brad was the founding Executive Director of the Williams Institute, and served in that role for fifteen amazing years,” said Williams Institute’s Faculty Director Doug NeJaime.  “Brad’s vision, leadership, intellect, judgment, creativity, and commitment helped to make the Williams Institute what it is today,”

Under the leadership of Brad Sears, the Williams Institute’s annual budget grew from $100,000 to more than $4 million.  The initial $2.5 million endowment grew to nearly $30 million.

With this kind of support, the Williams Institute has made remarkable and substantive contributions to LGBT equality.  Work at the Williams Institute has shaped laws, policies, and decisions protecting the rights of LGBT people at the international, federal, state, and local levels, in legislatures, courts, administrative agencies, family life, employment, and healthcare—just to name a few.

Marriage Equality, LGBT people in the Military, HIV/AIDS, workplace protections, homeless youth, transgender rights, LGBT families and more were topic of research at the Williams Institute.  That research would be cited by President Obama and the Supreme Court.  Many media outlets have referenced the work of the Williams Institute, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek Washington Post, CNN, and many others.

“He has been a veritable force of nature, able to marshal people, resources, and ideas to build something bigger and more meaningful than anyone could possibly have imagined,” said UCLA Law School Dean Jennifer Mnookin. “It is hard to imagine the Williams Institute without him at the helm, and yet, he has also built something so solid and substantial that I know it will continue to thrive under new leadership.”

Brad Sears will remain the Executive Director until his successor joins.  Until then, Mr. Sears will continue to lead the Williams Institute, along with Research Director Kerith Conron, Chief Officer of Administration and Programs Cathryn Dhanatya, and Director of Development Hamid Jahangard.