S&C Named to The National Law Journal's 2011 Pro Bono Hot List for Cole v. Arkansas

January 2, 2012

On January 2, S&C was featured for its work on the Cole v. Arkansas matter by The National Law Journal in its 2011 Pro Bono Hot List. The article discussed Mr. Beeney, Ms. Friedman and the team’s roles in leading S&C’s pro bono efforts, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, to obtain a victory on behalf of the plaintiffs in the case. In explaining the challenges posed by Act 1’s prohibition on both same-sex and heterosexual couples from adopting, Ms. Friedman said, “When you make it broader and pretend it's not about the fact that they don't like gays and lesbians becoming parents, it makes it tougher because the law is more mixed.” Ms. Friedman and Mr. Beeney noted that they were unsure of what to expect when they initially approached S&C about taking on the case at the end of 2008, given the substantial economic headwinds facing so many of S&C's clients. Ms. Friedman told NLJ it was a difficult time to ask the Firm "if they would like to sink a chunk of our profits into this case in Arkansas. They said 'yes' immediately.”

The article highlighted that during the two and a half years of litigation, S&C sponsored training at five law schools as 138 students reviewed more than one million documents for the case, in addition to the 14 expert reports and more than 40 depositions for the plaintiffs. “We tried to assert a variety of different claims we hoped would appeal to various people in Arkansas,” Mr. Beeney explained. In reflecting on the case since its April 7 victory was announced, Mr. Beeney commented, “To be able to make a statement that bigotry won't go unanswered – it was an incredibly wonderful thing.” Ms. Friedman added, “It's hugely gratifying. My wife and I, we have two adopted kids. I couldn't measure it for you to know. It's a completely personal matter to me.”