Adoption, Alston & Bird, Arnold & Porter, Biglaw, Gay, Gay Marriage, Health Care / Medicine, Insurance, Money, Perks / Fringe Benefits, Tax Law

Biglaw Perk Watch: Adoption Benefits
(Plus an update on the gay gross-up.)

When it comes to the employee benefit known as “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits” (aka the “gay gross-up”), maybe the pertinent question should be which firms don’t offer it. Since our recent write-up, we’ve heard about more leading law firms that offer this perk, taking the total number of firms that have it to more than 40. (The new firms are mentioned below.)

So let’s move on to the next front, which we also alluded to in our prior post: adoption and surrogacy-related benefits. They’re not nearly as common as tax equalization for same-sex health benefits, but a handful of firms appear to offer them.

Let’s find out which ones, shall we?

UPDATE (2/8/2013, 1:00 AM): A noteworthy update about the legal status of surrogacy, after the jump.

Here’s how this subject appeared on our radar screen. A reader emailed us:

I am a young gay lawyer completing a clerkship and have decided that for various reasons, I would like to go to a large firm for a few years. A main reason is that I am planning on having a child with my partner and cannot afford the enormous expense of surrogacy (or even associated costs with adoption). I have heard rumors of firms that cover surrogacy for gay couples, but have been unable to find a comprehensive resource listing the most supportive firms for “same-sex families.” Do you know of any such resource or of the firms that are known to provide this benefit?

We know of a handful of top law firms that offer such benefits. We’ve mentioned one of them before in these pages: Bingham McCutchen. A firm spokesperson confirmed to us that this benefit remains in effect and applies to associates, counsel, of counsel, staff attorneys, and staff. It allows for full-time employees to be reimbursed for up to $7,500 in adoption- or surrogacy-related fees, with no lifetime limit. You can read the full memo over here.

Through the grapevine, we also heard that Sullivan & Cromwell offers adoption-related benefits. We contacted the firm, and a representative directed us to this portion of the S&C website, which notes that the firm provides, “[a]fter one year of service, eligibility for reimbursement of $7,500 of adoption-­related expenses, including travel.” The firm also offers up to eighteen weeks of adoption leave with full salary for primary caregivers. In addition, the Dave Thomas Foundation has named S&C to its list of “Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces” each year since 2008.

Two other law firms appear on the Dave Thomas Foundation list. One is Alston & Bird, which touts its “generous fertility coverage and adoption reimbursement program” on its website.

Another is Arnold & Porter. According to the A&P website, the firm provides “[f]inancial assistance with the cost of adoption and fertility treatments.”

So that’s four firms. Surely there most be more law firms out there with similar policies. If you can add to our list, or share additional details about (or even personal experience with) the adoption or surrogacy benefits at one of the four firms mentioned above, please email us, subject line “Adoption or Surrogacy Benefits.”

UPDATE (2/8/2013, 1:00 AM): From a reader who has worked on surrogacy-related legal issues:

I’m surprised to hear that firms are reimbursing for surrogacy. From my experience representing a gay couple in a surrogacy matter, I know that surrogacy is of uncertain legal status in many states and in New York it is still [punishable by civil penalties in certain cases].

In the meantime, here are four five major law firms (i.e., Am Law 100 or Vault 100) that now offer tax equalization for same-sex health benefits:

Some of these firms have actually had the benefit for a while; we’re just a bit late in giving them props. By our count, more than 40 leading law firms now offer this benefit. For the complete list, with the four newcomers added, flip to the next page.

ATL Law Firm Directory
(hidden for your protection)

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