Jen Orthwein


Jen transitioned from a career as a forensic psychologist to focus on legal and policy issues related to transgender and gender variant individuals, particularly those impacted by the criminal justice system. They helped launch and served as pro bono Senior Counsel for the Detention Project at Transgender Law Center. They assisted in the representation of two California prisoners, Michelle-Lael Norsworthy and Shiloh Quine. These cases were the impetus for access to gender affirming surgery and expression for transgender and gender variant people in California prisons.

Jen previously maintained a successful legal and psychological consulting practice providing expert witness services to attorneys. Their work focused on assisting attorneys representing transgender people involved in civil and criminal cases. Jen has co-authored publications related to practitioner liability in cases of suicide, both in the community and in prison, as well as gender bias in the California criminal justice system. They were also a co-principal investigator for the Transgender Research Consortium, which aimed to provide empirical evidence on the impact of discrimination on transgender people's physical and mental health and to use this data to provide recommendations to inform public policy, education, training, and clinical practice.

Jen received a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University. They have served as a Law Clerk at the National Center for Lesbian Rights during law school and subsequently completed their training and began a career as a psychologist working in the California correctional system. They completed their pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the California Correctional Medical Facility (CMF).


  • 2018 SF Pride Freedom Award Recipient

  • 2017 Minority Bar Coalition Unity Award Recipient

Board Memberships

  • Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)

  • Board of Trustees of Palo Alto University.

  • Trans Lifeline