August 13, 2022

The big American law firms are often silent on abortion judgments, a ‘tight’ walk

June 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday ruled in Roe v. Following the withdrawal of the Wade case, the largest US law firms did not take a public stand, differing from the approach of some of the key institutions that were closely watched in the abortion case.

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 TOPs decision upheld Republican-backed Mississippi legislation banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Following this ruling, many states are expected to further restrict or ban abortions.

Reuters on Friday asked more than 30 U.S. law firms and 20 major firms for a total number of lawyers to comment on whether they would cover travel costs for staff seeking Dobbs judgment and abortion.

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The majority did not respond until Saturday afternoon, and only two, Robes & Gray and Morrison & Forster, said they would implement such a travel policy.

Morrison & Foerster, with nearly 1,000 lawyers, was the only major company to issue a public statement on Saturday afternoon.

Lauren Nachelsky, president of the organization, said Morrison & Forster “will redouble our efforts to protect abortion and other reproductive rights.”

Tops results are expected as the draft opinion is leaked in May.

Many large American companies, including The Walt Disney Co. (DIS.N) And meta platforms (META.O) It said Friday it would cover travel costs for staff who want to have an abortion. read more

Professionals say that if employees and clients push them to take a public position, law firms may talk about Dobbs in the future. For now, firm leaders are carefully weighing the pros and cons of commenting, experts say, including the possibility of alienating customers.

Kent Zimmermann, law firm consultant for the Zeughauser Group, said: “This is a tightrope walk for companies. They have different perspectives on their talent and clients.”

Some companies have provided internal contacts to employees about this decision. Robes & Gray chairwoman Julie Jones said in an internal note seen by Reuters that the company would hold several community meetings to discuss the verdict and provide “comfort”.

“As head of Robes & Gray, I’m concerned about the outcome of this decision in our community,” Jones wrote, acknowledging that his notebook could “cause guilt to parts of our community.”

A Robes & Gray spokeswoman told Reuters Friday that staff enrolled in its medical program are eligible for financial assistance to move out of the state for abortion.

Another major American law firm, Stupto & Johnson, gave its U.S. employees a holiday on Friday, a spokesman confirmed. The spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Despite the lack of public reports, many law firms publicly signaled before the verdict that they plan to provide free legal support to women who wish to have an abortion if Rowe is replaced.

New York Attorney General Ledicia James and San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu have teamed up with the San Francisco Bar Association to launch pro-law firm volunteer efforts. Participants include Paul Weiss, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and O’Malley & Myers.

Paul Weiss added Brad Corp in an internal message to Reuters on Friday calling Tops’ decision a “crushing loss”. Both Paul Weiss and O’Malley represented the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and respondents in the Tops case postponed their comments on the verdict to their co-counsel, the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The center said in a statement that the court had “for the first time – achieved a new fall by taking away constitutionally guaranteed individual liberty”.

Gibson did not respond to a request for comment.

Robert Cummins, a consultant for Vertex Consultants who works with law firms, said companies would be “extremely cautious” in taking the initial steps of the judgment.

“They need to make sure they think about it,” he said. “What is the business impact? What is the customer impact? What is the recruitment impact? There are a lot of things to think about.”

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Report by Karen Sloan in Sacramento, California and Jacqueline Thompson in Swampscott, Massachusetts; Additional Report by Mike Scorcella in Silver Spring, Maryland; Editing by Rebecca Mintcher, Nolyn Walter and Leslie Adler

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