Partner Paul M. Smith notes the firm’s strong history of pro bono work in an article about law firms that are teaming up with advocacy groups to support the LGBT community. Titled “The BigLaw Firms Fighting for Transgender Rights,” the article in Law360 explains that the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund have tapped Jenner & Block to challenge North Carolina’s controversial HB 2, which requires transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate in public facilities. The article notes that, in 2003, Mr. Smith won the landmark Lawrence v. Texas case, in which the US Supreme Court declared that sodomy bans were illegal. “The firm culture is very, very pro bono-oriented, civil rights and civil liberties-oriented, but any kind of pro bono,” Mr. Smith says. “This is just one piece of that. It became a big part of our pro bono practice after Lawrence. There were just a lot of people who wanted to work on these issues. One thing leads to another and once you've got a connection with the organization, you know them and they trust you, you get more and more opportunities to do interesting things.”
Our Pro Bono Commitment
A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 2000sLawrence v. Texas
Jenner & Block served as co-lead counsel with Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund in a civil rights decision that overturned a Texas anti-sodomy law. Partner Paul Smith argued the case before the US Supreme Court. The Court’s decision was widely considered to be the most important gay rights decision in a generation.