With the 2008 presidential campaign dominating the airwaves, despite being over a year away, everyone is talking about politics (and watching awesome, politically-themed music videos). Here’s a question that a law student posed to us:
Are there differences between the politics of firms, roughly distinguishing between liberal and conservative, or are they all pretty much the same? How can a student figure out the political leanings of a particular firm?
The only source of information I’ve found so far is to research donations to presidential candidates.
Interesting. We’d say that many firms, especially in New York, are “pretty much the same” — money knows no political distinctions. But here in D.C., it’s more common for firms to lean one way or the other.
One way to figure out a firm’s political valence is to look into the former government service of its lawyers (especially high-powered partners). This method would suggest to you that WilmerHale, home of the diva-licious Jamie Gorelick, is left of center, while Gibson Dunn, home of Ted Olson, is right of center.
As our correspondent notes, campaign contributions also shed light on the political leanings of a law firm. On that subject, Lindsay Fortado of Bloomberg News has this interesting article. Here’s something that surprised us:
Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that’s home to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr and Bush administration official Jay Lefkowitz, have given more to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign than to all of the top Republican candidates combined.
Kirkland, based in Chicago, is one of several corporate law firms that traditionally backed Republicans where lawyers are turning to Democratic candidates….
With respect to K&E, though, we’d guess that this varies from office to office. The Washington outpost of Kirkland, which is stocked with tons of former Scalia and Thomas clerks, is probably not funneling massive cash to La Hillary.
Which way does your firm lean? Please discuss in the comments. Thanks.
Kenneth Starr’s Law Firm Gives More Money to Clinton [Bloomberg]