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Cases & Deals

March 1, 2017

King & Spalding Pro Bono Team Wins Appeals Victory on Transgender Client’s Behalf

ATLANTA, March 1, 2017 — A King & Spalding pro bono team has obtained a significant civil rights victory on behalf of a Georgia transgender client whose name-change petition had been denied by a lower court, which said it would cause “confusion.” The Georgia Court of Appeals recently reversed that decision, and ordered the lower court to grant the name-change request.

Last year, the client had petitioned the Columbia County court to change his first name from a female to a male one, and the court denied the request, despite the change being unopposed. The same court had denied another transgender individual’s name-change petition for the same reason—a potential for “confusion”—earlier in the year. A King & Spalding team, working along with Lambda Legal, a nationwide LGBT civil rights organization, took the case to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

On Jan. 20, a panel of the appeals court unanimously reversed the lower court, and reversed the other name-change petition the Columbia County court had denied, saying the court had abused its discretion in both cases.

Partner Merritt McAlister and associate Sedric Bailey, both based in Atlanta, made up the King & Spalding team on this matter.

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