Robins Kaplan was named to the National Law Journal’s 2016 Pro Bono Hot List for securing a significant court ruling clarifying that the Affordable Care Act’s civil rights protections extend to transgender individuals seeking medical care.
Katie Barrett Wiik, a principal at the firm, along with Co-counsel Jill Gaulding and Christy Hall at the legal nonprofit Gender Justice, represent Jakob T. Rumble, a young transgender man who sought care at a hospital emergency room in 2013. Jakob alleges that he experienced multiple indignities during his hospital visit as a result of this transgender status, including allegedly being forced to wear a "female" ID bracelet, alleged hostility from nurses and staff, and an alleged aggressive ER doctor who repetitively questioned him about his sex life and was physically rough with him during a genital examination.
In March 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson authored a 63-page opinion denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss and ruling that Section 1557’s ban on sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of transgender status. This historic decision recognizing that Section 1557 protects people who are transgender has been applauded by transgender and gay rights organizations nationwide. This case is still pending.
Robins Kaplan believes that everyone deserves access to the legal system, and works every day to provide legal representation to those who cannot afford it. Since 2009, more than six percent of total attorney billable time has been contributed to pro bono efforts, which is more than two times the standard set forth by the pro bono institute.
The firm has also recently been recognized by Law360 as a top Pro Bono Firm of 2015, and was ranked in the top 10 percent of the Am Law 200 for pro bono work.