California | David Boies | Gay Marriage | News | Proposition 8 | Ted Olson

AFER paid $6.4 million to Ted Olson and David Boies' Law Firms in Prop 8 Case


The Washington Blade is reporting that the American Foundation for Equal Rights paid more than $6.4 million to the two law firms that successfully argued against California’s Proposition 8.

Olson_boies2009-2013 tax filings indicate former Republican U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson’s law firm – Gibson, Dunn & Crtcher LLP – received nearly $6 million from AFER for “legal and ancillary legal expenses,” while David Boies’ law firm – Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP received $468,089.

The paper reports that these expenses include payments to expert witnesses who testified against Prop 8, travel and living expenses for lawyers who lived in San Francisco for a month during a three-week trial over which now retired U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker presided in 2010, and legal research costs.

“AFER’s case resulted in the return of marriage equality in California for a fraction of the cost of a ballot measure,” AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer told the Washington Blade on Tuesday. 

Tax filings also indicate AFER raised $14,900,467 between April 23, 2009, and March 31, 2013, that Umhoefer told the Blade includes a “large amount” of contributions from Republican donors. He added his organization estimates the Prop 8 case also generated millions of dollars in earned media coverage for which it did not have to pay.

One such piece of media that's generating quite a bit of buzz is The Case Against 8, the film that goes behind the scenes of the high-profile trial. The film has won multiple awards from film festivals this year, including last week's SXSW in Austin. 

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  1. Considering that Boise hourly rate is above $1,000 per hour and Olson is $1,800 per hour, this was a bargain. If they were charging the normal rates, the price would likely have been north of $30 million.

    Posted by: Turing's Ghost | Mar 21, 2014 1:19:55 PM

  2. Worth every penny.

    Posted by: TomTallis | Mar 21, 2014 1:20:43 PM

  3. Cheap at twice the price.

    Posted by: Mike in Asheville | Mar 21, 2014 1:23:13 PM

  4. Best $6 million investment in a long time.

    Posted by: Jason Macbride | Mar 21, 2014 1:31:50 PM

  5. I hope that ALL the people who helped us got enough money to spend their faces off for the rest of their lives. Our lives are better, so should yours be.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Mar 21, 2014 1:53:46 PM

  6. UFFDA: Hoping they got enough money to spend...

    True - with you 100% on that, but unfortunately, the sad reality is that litigation is extremely expensive. When two sides won't budge, legal bills like this one are the norm for a high profile case like ours was.

    But all of that aside, marriage occurred in my household immediately after. It took us 30 years to have it, hold it and stare at the license. Neither of us thought it would ever happen in our lifetime, but we were proven wrong - and I am thankful.

    There's so much more I could say on this topic, but I'll leave it at this: Nothing makes me feel more happy and complete than to call him my husband.

    Posted by: Mark | Mar 21, 2014 2:12:34 PM

  7. The lawyers who got DOMA overturned (and who set the Supreme Court precedent that is now being used to gain marriage all around the country) didn't take a dime. Most of the lawyers around the country who are bringing those marriage cases aren't getting paid either. Just sayin'.

    Posted by: Jay | Mar 21, 2014 2:34:44 PM

  8. Money well spent.

    Posted by: Jersey | Mar 21, 2014 2:36:09 PM

  9. As major legal cases go, I believe that's more than reasonable. Down right cheap, actually.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 21, 2014 2:46:20 PM

  10. As a gay Californian, I totally approve of this spending. Especially considering the cultural and historical legacy of this ruling. I saw Olson and Boies speak in West Hollywood the day of the decision, and they were just amazing. Such sincere advocates and heroes.

    Posted by: Tyler | Mar 21, 2014 2:53:32 PM

  11. This was money well spent. I can't think of any plaintiffs getting better legal representation than by this professional, strong, compassionate, disciplined duo (and their team). They know their law, they're highly experienced, and they HUMANIZED our lives to the Court.

    Posted by: will | Mar 21, 2014 3:10:44 PM

  12. "Nothing makes me feel more happy and complete than to call him my husband."

    Exactly this. Call me selfish, bit I think it was money well spent.

    Posted by: Mousie | Mar 21, 2014 3:28:42 PM

  13. Cheap as eff. Why are they trying to troll? The LGBT comm are its worse enemy at times..

    Posted by: Rowan | Mar 21, 2014 3:45:42 PM

  14. And what's the issue here ?

    Show me the jurisdiction in which litigation is not expensive.
    At least in this instance justice prevailed.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 21, 2014 3:54:56 PM

  15. This was money very well spent. I'd have given to them in a crowd funding campaign if they had started one.

    Posted by: Mighty | Mar 22, 2014 12:52:49 PM

  16. Where can I send them an extra $10?

    I want to be a very small part of the huge thank you we all owe them.

    Posted by: Louis | Mar 23, 2014 2:17:49 AM

  17. I thought that they took this pro bono?

    Posted by: JC | Mar 24, 2014 3:14:30 AM

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