The founding partner of the firm, Ruth Claiborne. After a long career as an innovative lawyer who practiced in the forefront of family building, Ruth has retired from the active practice of law. Over the years, Ruth established herself as one of Georgia’s most pioneering and preeminent reproductive technology and adoption attorneys. She loved serving individual clients, but through lobbying and public service appointments, she also took part in shaping public policy around assisted reproductive technology, adoption, child advocacy, and special education.
Ruth’s career included several milestone events. In 1998, Ruth completed the first co-parent adoption between same-sex couples ever granted in Georgia. In 1996-97, Ruth handled her first egg donation and gestational surrogacy cases, making her one of the very first lawyers in Georgia to ever handle assisted reproduction matters. In 2009, she obtained the first joint pre- birth parentage order granted in Georgia to a same sex couple in a surrogacy matter. Ruth mediated the first case at the Neighborhood Justice Center (now the Justice Center of Atlanta, Inc.) when it opened its doors in 1977 as a pilot project during Jimmy Carter’s term as President, and she served for several years on the Justice Center’s training team, focusing on mediation of special education disputes.
Ruth spent much of her career working as a judicial officer and serving as a legislative consultant before the Georgia General Assembly. From her judicial experiences, she gained insights into fair and impartial adjudication, especially where novel issues were involved that were not always addressed in specific laws yet were within the sound discretion of the judge. In 1991, she was named as a Magistrate Judge specially assigned to the Fulton County Superior Court, and through this part time appointment, she heard and decided cases in Superior and Juvenile Courts for 12 years. She has also held administrative law judge appointments spanning her entire career, starting as an Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia Departments of Education, of Human Resources, Secretary of State Licensing Boards, and Office of State Administrative Hearings. From 1993 through the present, she is on the three-member Board of Review, Georgia Department of Labor, reviewing unemployment compensation appeals.
In 2000, Ruth was honored by the Stonewall Bar Association with its Award for Conspicuous Service to the Stonewall Community. In 2004, she was named an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Assistance, in recognizing her extraordinary work to promote adoption in the United States. In 2008, she was named a Georgia Super Lawyer in the field of Family Law. She has also served numerous public service appointments, including the Georgia Commission on Women, Georgia Commission on Equality, and on the Georgia Commission on Child Support for 18 years, the longest tenure of any member. In 2020, as she was making the difficult decision to retire from the active practice of law, the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys presented her with the Susan Paquet Mentoring Award in recognition of the guidance she has given to other attorneys in this important area of law.
Ruth now splits her time between Highlands, North Carolina, where she is an active member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, and Atlanta, Georgia, where she is an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta. Her personal passions include spending time with her family, active travel, yoga, flower arranging, and decorative arts.