Henry Sias

[email protected](717) 299-6300
 
I represent members of subjugated communities, workers, and people who have been denied career opportunities because of discrimination. I work to reform the justice system so that its doors are open equally to all.

Who is Henry M. Sias?

Henry was born in Bad Axe, Michigan in the 1970s, to an airman and an x-ray technician. He grew up in 1980s Detroit after his father joined in the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (“PATCO”) strike, a critical milestone in American labor history. He graduated from Western Michigan University (“WMU”) magna cum laude in 1998, was a member of WMU’s inaugural chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, an organization that celebrates education in the arts and sciences, fosters freedom of thought, and recognizes academic excellence. Henry graduated from Yale Law School in 2005. During law school, Henry was involved with student organizing in support of a campus worker strike, protests, a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld over the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and on-campus nondiscrimination in recruiting. Henry worked to decriminalize same-sex relationships and to legalize marriage equality. Henry serves as a Commissioner on Pennsylvania’s Commission of LGBTQ Affairs, advising the Governor’s Office on an executive order providing workplace protections against sexual harassment and misconduct for state employees, ensuring that such protections cover LGBTQ workers. Henry is active in the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and participates in legal continuing education, helping other lawyers keep up to date on issues involving the LGBTQ and especially the transgender community.

Why did Henry M. Sias decide to join Triquetra Law as Of Counsel?

Henry’s excitement at having found a progressive firm that shares his values is matched by his passion for winning justice for hardworking people who are victims of discrimination. In law school Henry assisted in drafting a brief, which was later cited in the Supreme Court opinion, Lawrence v. Texas, striking down laws that criminalized same-sex intimate relations. These experiences led Henry to focus his volunteer work on social justice initiatives. Henry also had found a deep sense of purpose as a lawyer by fighting for fairness and a place in public life for transgender people. Triquetra Law not only allows Henry to continue this work in his role as Of Counsel, but also encourages him to bring his insights into the firm work.

In What Areas of Law Does Henry Focus?

Appellate Advocacy

Henry sharpened his appellate skills in two clerkships at the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, helping to draft opinions that would define rights and policy for the Commonwealth for many years to come. He also clerked at the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and in the Homicide Program and Mass Tort Program in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas, preparing opinions that distilled complex trial issues for appellate review. He has drafted hundreds of briefs, vindicating the rights of immigrants, workers, and impoverished defendants in Superior Court, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits. Henry’s appellate skills help him to make sure that his opponents do not distort the truths uncovered at trial.

Civil Rights

Henry has been galvanized by the crucial role of the civil rights lawyer since law school and has never found any professional experience that can match the satisfaction than righting a violation of his clients’ civil rights. Henry believes that our democratic form of government needs civil rights fighters, of all types and at all levels, to keep that government in balance and responsive to the people, whose participation and consent remains the only source of the government’s legitimacy.

Criminal Justice Reform

Henry worked to reform the criminal legal system for over a decade. He advocated for amendments to the statute that allows convicted persons to reopen their cases when new evidence tending to exonerate them comes to light. He assisted a team of lawyers who reformed Philadelphia’s indigent defense system, updating pay rates that had been stagnant for decades, which in turn led struggling defense lawyers to become burdened with unreasonable caseloads. The resulting changes have improved the system for lawyers, their clients, and the courts themselves. He organized with lawyers to help people with criminal records to put their past behind them so they are not condemned to a life without employment, education, and housing opportunities.

Employment Law

Henry’s father became an air traffic controller less than two years before the PATCO strike, and when the President fired all PATCO air traffic controllers and blacklisted them from government employment, his family was devastated. They lost their house and it took almost a decade before they became homeowners again. He saw firsthand how unjust job loss can be catastrophic for American families. Protecting hardworking people from exploitation and abuses of the employer-employee relationship is one of the most rewarding aspects of Henry’s law practice. Henry helps employees present the truth of their story, through partnering with his clients every step of the way in the civil legal system.

How Does Henry Work to Improve the Legal System?

Henry works alongside Sharon and Andrea in the Pennsylvania Bar Association (“PBA”) on various committees and projects. Henry is a member of PBA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team, and liaises with the LGBTQ+ Rights Committee to keep initiatives between the Committee and the DEI Team on track. He also serves in the Appellate Advocacy Committee, the Civil and Equal Rights Committee, the Disability Services Committee, the Federal Practice Committee, the Judicial Administration Committee, the Membership Development Committee, the Minority Bar Committee, and the Women in the Profession Committee. He presents continuing legal education programming sponsored by PBA, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, and several other legal education program organizers. He also contributed to judicial cultural competency training on LGBTQ community members.

What Community Work Does Henry Perform?

Henry volunteered for the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. He educates and advocates for the transgender community in courtrooms, boardrooms, and organizations all over Pennsylvania. His historic judicial campaign in Philadelphia proved that transgender candidates can run viable campaigns, and showed vulnerable transgender and gender-variant kids they have a future worth fighting for.