Large U.S. law firms begin to offer abortion travel benefits after Dobbs ruling

2 minute read

The company logo of the law firm Cozen O'Connor is seen at their legal offices in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 21, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
  • Firms like Akin Gump, Cozen O'Connor and McDermott will cover travel costs for attorneys seeking abortions

(Reuters) - Several large U.S. law firms have now promised to cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the constitutional right to the procedure.

Cozen O'Connor, Dorsey & Whitney, McDermott Will & Emery, Mayer Brown and Morgan Lewis & Bockius have told Reuters since Monday that they will foot travel costs for staff living in states where abortion is now restricted or banned.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Proskauer Rose also said they would offer the same benefit.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reuters has reached out to over 60 large law firms since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision was published Friday. The majority have not yet responded to requests for comment on whether they would implement an abortion travel policy.

Ropes & Gray and Morrison & Foerster on Friday were the first law firms to confirm to Reuters they had an abortion travel policy, as most initially stayed quiet on the issue.

Those two firms, as well as Mayer Brown, were part of the more than 30-firm group contacted by Reuters in the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision. The other seven firms that have since told Reuters they've created abortion travel policies were not part of that group.

Some of the law firms adopting these policies are among the largest by headcount in the country.

Morgan Lewis, which has nearly 2,000 lawyers, is the 10th biggest and Mayer Brown is No. 12 with over 1,700 lawyers, according to National Law Journal industry rankings.

The law firms join major U.S. corporations, like the Walt Disney Co and Meta Platforms that since Friday have said they would offer travel policies for staff who may no longer have abortion access in their home states.

Some big U.S. law firms, including O'Melveny & Myers and Jenner & Block, are already involved in litigation over states' abortion laws.

Jenner is representing Florida providers challenging a 15-week ban on the procedure, and O'Melveny is representing Kentucky abortion clinics and a healthcare provider in a lawsuit filed Monday challenging two state abortion bans.

Neither Jenner nor O'Melveny has responded to request for comment on whether they'd put abortion travel policies in place for staff.

Read more:

Large U.S. law firms mostly quiet on abortion ruling, are walking a 'tightrope'

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Mike Scarcella and Karen Sloan contributed reporting

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Jacqueline Thomsen, based in Washington, D.C., covers legal news related to policy, the courts and the legal profession. Follow her on Twitter at @jacq_thomsen and email her at jacqueline.thomsen@thomsonreuters.com.