Ruth Claiborne is an innovative lawyer who practices in the forefront of family building. She has established herself as one of Georgia’s most pioneering and preeminent reproductive technology and adoption attorneys Serving individual clients is her main mission, but through lobbying and public service appointments, she has also taken part in shaping public policy around assisted reproductive technology, adoption, child advocacy, and special education.
Ruth’s career includes 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.
1977 was also the year she founded Ruth F. Claiborne, P.C., to emphasize the rights of children and families and to promote mediation. Still today, she takes a collaborative approach to working with clients, attorneys, physicians and mental health professionals, believing that family building through assisted reproduction or adoption is best approached in a truly multidisciplinary fashion. She has always approached clients and law practice with sincerity, warmth, compassion, and a sense of humor.
Ruth has 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 are involved that are not always addressed in specific laws, yet are 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.
Ruth’s approach to clients is also informed by public policy skills, honed over years of intensive legislative advocacy on health, education and family issues. She has been instrumental in drafting and successfully advocating improvements to Georgia laws on adoption, embryo donation, special education, child support, and legal procedures governing state administrative hearings, to name a few.
Ruth shares her knowledge and experience by speaking at seminars and meetings for consumers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and advocates on legal and practical aspects of reproductive law including egg, sperm, and embryo donation, gestational and traditional surrogacy.
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.
Ruth is an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta, and she has held several leadership positions at St. Luke’s and in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Her personal passions include spending time with her family, active travel, yoga, flower arranging, and decorative arts.
Amy Wallas Fox
Amy Wallas Fox has dedicated her entire career to adoption and assisted reproductive technologies law. Amy began her career working with Ruth Claiborne in 2007, and today she is the managing partner of Claiborne|Fox|Bradley’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Amy, who is licensed in both North Carolina and Georgia, has extensive experience in a variety of adoption cases, including direct placements, agency finalizations, birth parent representation, stepparent adoptions, and relative adoptions. Amy is the firm’s expert on the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), and she has successfully helped dozens of families adopt children across state lines.
In addition, Amy specializes in complex assisted reproductive technologies cases ranging from surrogacy to egg, sperm, and embryo donations. She assisted in the creation of the firm’s surrogacy matching program, Southern Surrogacy, where she also serves as Executive Director. A Charlotte, North Carolina native, Amy received her bachelor’s degree in 2004 from Guilford College, with majors in philosophy and international studies and a minor in Japanese. As an undergraduate student, Amy spent a semester near Osaka, Japan. Afterward, Amy received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the College of William & Mary Marshall Wythe School of Law, where she graduated in 2007 with a juris doctorate degree.
Amy writes the popular food blog, Amy on Food, and enjoys travel, cooking and reading. She lives in Charlotte with her husband and their two children.
Lila Newberry Bradley
Lila Newberry Bradley was delighted to expand the range of her practice by joining the firm in 2013, and she is now a named partner of Claiborne|Fox|Bradley LLC. Lila represents clients who are creating and growing families through adoption or assisted reproduction. She believes that all people deserve the opportunity to build a family.
Lila is the former director of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s Children’s Law Programs where she worked with volunteer lawyers to provide pro bono legal representation for children who were in foster care or were the subject of high-conflict custody disputes. To bring attention to the rights and needs of children, Lila authored the publication, “Family Preservation in Georgia: A Legal Guide to Preventing Unnecessary Removal to State Custody”. Lila also served as a visiting scholar with the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic of Emory University School of Law to provide training to attorneys concerning the legal aspects of family preservation. Lila continues to have a special interest in the legal issues surrounding children in foster care, and she provides training to foster parents on how the law and the court process can ensure that children’s rights and interests are protected.
Lila knows that children will benefit when family members are secure in their legal rights and interests through proper estate planning and LGBT family agreements such as advance directives for healthcare, financial powers of attorney, domestic partnership agreements, post-adoption contact agreements, and standby guardianships. Lila’s background as a business lawyer informs her ability to prepare contracts and instruments to document and secure a family’s legal interests.
Lila received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature in 1982 from the University of Georgia. She is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia. Lila is also a member of the Georgia Association of Counsel for Children and the National Association of Counsel for Children, and she served as a member and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Association of Counsel for Children for five years. She is a Fellow in Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.
Lila and her family are active members of Druid Hills United Methodist Church, a progressive congregation that is a proud member of the Reconciling Ministries Network of United Methodist churches. She is an avid camper and paddler.
Lynn Goldman is a leader in creating Georgia’s public policies and laws affecting children. She joined the firm in 2014 after building a career as a child welfare lawyer and mediator for the previous 17 years. After experiencing infertility herself in 2002 she was excited to work with other families on their family building journey.
Lynn’s passion for family law began long before attending law school. Upon graduation from the University of Alabama with a degree in Social Work, Lynn worked as a child protection case manager with the Clayton County Department of Family and Children Services. As a case manager, Lynn approved the first same sex adoption in Clayton County in 1994.
Wanting to be a greater advocate for Georgia’s children, Lynn attended law school at the University of Georgia. While at UGA, she published an article on Munchausen by Proxy in the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Journal.
Upon graduation, Lynn began her legal career as an attorney with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, where she handled a variety of cases including domestic violence divorces, child welfare cases, public benefit appeals and landlord tenant issues. During her years at Legal Aid, Ms. Goldman successfully defended a dependency case before the Georgia Court of Appeals.
From 2005 until 2010 Lynn served as the Managing Attorney for the One Child, One Lawyer Program where she trained, mentored, and supervised attorneys who volunteered to serve as child advocates in dependency cases.
Seeing mediation as a useful tool in domestic and juvenile court cases, Lynn became a registered dependency, delinquency and domestic relations mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. She has been mediating for the past 11 years throughout Georgia.
As Lynn’s reputation for being an effective mediator grew, she was given a grant with the Supreme Court Committee on Justice for Children to promote the use of mediation in Georgia’s juvenile courts. Her grant has been renewed for the past five years. With this grant Lynn has drafted Georgia’s laws on juvenile mediation and developed guidelines and training requirements for juvenile mediators. She has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped to develop mediation programs throughout Georgia and has trained countless judges, attorneys and mediators on the use of mediation in juvenile court.
Lynn also recently served as the Program Coordinator for the Fulton Juvenile Court Deprivation Mediation Program, where she supervised mediators who handled deprivation and guardianship termination cases.
On multiple occasions Lynn served as a legal expert and guest commentator for “In Session” television on cases involving child abuse prosecutions. Lynn enjoys spending her free time with her husband and their twins. They are active members at Temple Sinai.