As the Supreme Court enters its homestretch, time continues to tick down on abortion rights in America. Thanks to a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in the Dobbs case, we now know that the Supreme Court is ready, willing, and able to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent to take away the right to choose. With the final opinion set to be released any day now, Biglaw firms have entered the scene, prepared to protect the rights of those who will be affected should Roe v. Wade be struck down by the high court.
An alliance of 23 major law firms has been formed — the Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights — and their goal is to provide free legal services to those in need should Roe fall.
Teresa Johnson, co-chair of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s capital markets practice and one of the founders of the group, noted that because SCOTUS is on the precipice of “tak[ing] away a fundamental right that has been on the books for nearly 50 years,” it “calls for a public-private collaboration to pool our strength and resources.” The American Lawyer has the details on how the alliance plans to help:
Under the terms of the alliance, firms will provide pro bono representation when pregnant people and providers face civil suits and criminal charges related to seeking or providing abortions in California and other states. Member firms will also assist in pro bono civil and criminal defense in other states where the right to choose no longer exists, according to a statement on the formation of the alliance.
Johnson said, while the alliance was still taking shape, matters with which it could assist include defense in vigilante lawsuits against pregnant people, providers and assisters; representation of providers who receive subpoenas seeking records; advising hospitals, clinics and medical professionals on policies relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, partnering with public defenders to assist in the criminal defense of people who have had abortions in states where the action is criminalized; and even affirmative litigation, including constitutional claims relating to blocking harmful state laws—like travel bans.
According to Johnson, the alliance — which will be led by San Francisco city attorney David Chiu — is a “dream team” of law firms “ready to meet the challenge” that lies ahead. Those law firms include:
- Altshuler Berzon
- Arguedas Cassman Headley & Goldman
- Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
- BraunHagey & Borden
- Clarence Dyer & Cohen
- Conrad Metlitzky Kane
- Crowell & Moring
- Durie Tangri
- Farella Braun + Martel
- Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes
- Hanson Bridgett
- Keker Van Nest & Peters
- Lewis & Llewellyn
- Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein
- Moeel Lah Fakhoury
- Morrison & Foerster
- Nassiri & Jung
- Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
- Ramsey & Ehrlich
- Rogers Joseph O’Donnell PC
- Swanson & McNamara
- Willkie Farr & Gallagher
“During this moment when fundamental rights are at stake,” Chiu said, “we welcome legal communities around California and our country to join us.” Is your firm ready to join the members of the Biglaw and boutique abortion avengers to form an even stronger team? Your help is sorely needed, and it’s time to assemble. Please join the squad today.
Big Law Steps Up to Defend Abortion Rights if Roe Falls [American Lawyer]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.