By clicking on a provider’s name, users gain access to a detailed profile of the firm, including company description, contact information, how long the've been in business, number of employees, and even biographies of their lawyers. And for some law firms, you'll find a rating report derived from approximately 2,000 surveys parents completed about their surrogacy journeys. Every law firm that has at least four recommendations will have their recommendation rate listed in the directory.
MHB Executive Director, Ron Poole-Dayan says, “Our goal is to make it easier to find reputable licensed law firms who specialize in surrogacy. This is primarily applicable to intended parents who are not provided legal assistance through their agency, and to surrogates and egg donors who seeking independent legal representation.”
MHB's Framework for Ethical Surrogacy for Intended Parents stresses the need for surrogates to have effective and independent legal representation in contract negotiations and finalization procedures. However, in practice this is not always clear-cut. The Framework states, "We recommend that the attorneys representing each party not have any formal financial affiliation or interest in each other, or in the coordinating agency, including partial ownership (by the attorneys and their immediate family). In addition, they should not offer or receive a referral fee from each other."
Michelle Pine, chair of MHB's Surrogates Advisory Committee, participated in drafting the Ethical Surrogacy Framework. Pine notes that often agencies tend to suggest for the surrogate’s representation, other attorneys they trust and with whom they have developed an ongoing relationship. "It is important for the surrogate to be made aware of the possible conflict of interest that may exist when their proposed attorney would like to receive additional referrals from the IPs’ agency - even if the professional integrity of such attorneys may be solid. The MHB Legal Directory is now a viable solution for them to find attorneys independently."