Jennifer Orthwein


Jennifer 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. She helped launch and served as pro bono Senior Counsel for the Detention Project at Transgender Law Center. She 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.

Jennifer previously maintained a successful legal and psychological consulting practice providing expert witness services to attorneys. Her work focused on assisting attorneys representing transgender people involved in civil and criminal cases. Jennifer 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. She is also a co-principal investigator for the Transgender Research Consortium, which aims 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.

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

Board Memberships

  • Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)
  • Board of Trustees of Palo Alto University.