Arnold & Porter

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Pro Bono Rank Firm
(Am Law 200 Rank)
Am Law
Pro Bono Score
Average Pro Bono
Hours Per Lawyer
% of Lawyers
With More Than 20 Hours
3
Arnold & Porter (56)
117.4
150.8
84.0

 

In July 2007, officials at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California, cleared out the women's gymnastics team room, the only space on campus used exclusively by a women's team, to make way for a weight-lifting and fitness room. Months earlier, Los Angeles-based Arnold & Porter associate Danika Vittitoe, an alumni of the school and a former member of the gymnastics team, had taken up the team's cause when school officials first revealed their plans to get rid of the gymnastics room. Vittitoe was hopeful that her threats of a Title IX-based claim would dissuade school officials, Am Law Pro Bono 100but after they proceeded with the plan, she sued on behalf of team members and their coach. Among other things, Vittitoe alleged in her complaint that the proposed weight-lifting and fitness room would be primarily used by the football team.

The case went to trial in February 2008 before U.S. district court judge Gary Feess. At times as many as eight attorneys at Arnold & Porter worked on the case, which included selecting potential plaintiffs, the initial complaint, a preliminary injunction, depositions and finally a three-day trial. In March 2008 Judge Feess ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that female students are underrepresented in Wilson's athletic programs, that high school officials have not shown a history and continuing practice of expanding athletic opportunities for female students, and that the interests of female athletes at the school have not been fully and effectively accommodated. Feess granted the plaintiffs injunctive relief and ordered the gymnastics room reinstated to its former purpose.

While school officials initially signaled their intention to appeal the decision, the parties ultimately settled the matter and the gymnastics room was restored. Arnold & Porter received $526,000 in attorney's fees plus $17,000 in costs, which was donated to the firm's charitable foundation.

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