The leading law firm of King & Spalding, which came under fire from LGBT rights groups after its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) became public last week, has moved to withdraw from the litigation. The firm cited problems with the vetting process applied to the engagement.
And Paul Clement, the former U.S. Solicitor General and King & Spalding partner who was going to spearhead the DOMA defense, is now a former K&S partner. He resigned from K&S this morning, in response to the firm’s withdrawal decision. Clement will continue his representation of the House of Representatives in DOMA litigation from his new home, Bancroft PLLC, the high-powered D.C. boutique founded by a fellow alum of the Bush Department of Justice, Georgetown law professor Viet Dinh.
UPDATE (12:20 PM): We reached out for comment to Professor Dinh, who said: “Paul wins the biggest cases and Bancroft solves the most complex problems. This is a no brainer. We will continue to do what Paul and I love doing most, which is to serve the best interests of our clients.”
Let’s take a look at King & Spalding’s stated justification for dropping the DOMA representation, and at Paul Clement’s resignation letter….
[A] lawyer who defends an individual or a law, no matter how unpopular or distasteful, helps ensure that the outcome is viewed as fair. If DOMA is struck down, the fact that it was defended effectively will make the victory for its opponents more credible…. We hope [Paul] Clement loses, but we don’t begrudge him the assignment. Even a lawyer of his skills will find it hard to defend a discriminatory law like DOMA.
They say that everyone is entitled to a lawyer. [FN1] But is everyone entitled to the services of former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, one of our nation’s finest appellate advocates? At a discounted rate, no less?
As we mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, the U.S. House of Representatives has hired Paul Clement and Clement’s law firm, the venerable King & Spalding, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA, which essentially bars recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes of federal law, has been struck down in part by various federal courts, and the Obama Administration has decided to stop defending the 1996 law in constitutional challenges.
So the House Republicans have stepped up to the plate to defend DOMA. And they’ve hired some high-powered counsel for the task, namely, Clement and King & Spalding.
The contract between the House and King & Spalding was made public today by the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (after Speaker John Boehner declined to release it). The agreement contains some interesting tidbits, including the hourly rate the House will be paying, as well as a cap (although an adjustable one) on the fees to be paid to K&S.
* House Speaker John Boehner and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, now at King & Spalding, have joined forces to fight marriage equality by defending DOMA. Talk about two people who will not be taking their talents to South Beach. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
* The tax returns of Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been made public. Notes Professor Paul Caron: “It’s amazing how much more politicians give to charity in years in which they know their tax returns will be released to the public (although Biden still tosses around gifts to charity like manhole covers).” [TaxProf Blog]
* If you were underwhelmed with OCI at your law school, a new service — JD Match, founded by law-firm consultant and blogger Bruce MacEwen — wants to try to match you up with employers ready to hire. [WSJ Law Blog]
* People keep acting like their law firms are hunting for associates expressing discontent. But law firms aren’t as paranoid as Roger Ailes. [Gawker]
* It’s always nice when our nation’s legal system comes to the defense of punk bands. [Los Angeles Times]
* It’s almost time for the anniversary of the historical basis for Texas thinking it’s better than everybody else. [The Defense Rests via Blawg Review]
* The Wisconsin Senate passed sweeping curbs on collective bargaining yesterday. The protesters are still howling, but I wonder how loud they’ll be when Pinkertons shove batons in their faces. That’s not actually happening. I just have a fairly violent and anachronistic imagination. [Reuters]
* House Republicans have gone meta in promising a defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. [Los Angeles Times]
* State Senator Carl Kruger, of Brooklyn, will turn himself in on corruption charges today. Big up to Crooklyn. [New York Times]
* Coach Sweater Vest’s hilarious understanding of attorney-client privilege is hilarious. [The Lantern]
* Profits per partner at Kirkland & Ellis topped $3 million in 2010, and the firm boosted its revenue even though it shed some lawyers. I Can Has Spring Bonus? [Am Law Daily]
* Hey, Muammar Gaddafi. Bad news bro. The Oscars are over, we’re going to be focusing on stuff again. So, maybe this would be a good time to pack up your stuff and go, before our glamor hangover wears off. [Wall Street Journal]
* Obama’s gay marriage views are still… evolutionary. Tico Almeida looks at how Obama’s rejection of DOMA might affect the fight for a proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). [The Bilerico Project]
* I can’t wait until Marin comes back from vacation and breaks her foot off up in Charlie Sheen’s ass, again. [Slate]
* But be careful when dealing with Sheen. His lawyers know how to write a mean letter. [Radar Online]
* The Mets can’t even figure out how to sell kosher hot dogs. Does Mark Cuban need a special invitation to come save us? [New York Daily News]
* So, ballpark, just how much does an influential business ethicist make these days? And check out the top 10 list of unethical actors (bottom of the page), which includes a few lawyers. [Ethisphere]
* I know it’s not right, but if I was at a conference for First Amendment lawyers, I’d wait until everybody was in the main ballroom and then shout “fire.” I promise I’d do it, and I’d get big laughs too, even from the people who were accidentally trampled. [Underdog]
* The Oscars are over, but the battle for Blawg Review of the Year is just beginning. [Blawg Review]
* Yes, we have seen the excellent GW Law Revue video based on the Cee Lo Green song (embedded above). No need to send it to us again. In fact, please do not send us links to any Law Revue videos until we announce the start of our third annual Law Revue Video Contest (perhaps next month, but stay tuned). [YouTube]
* The SEC’s general counsel, David Becker, gets involved in the Madoff litigation — as a defendant, in an action brought by trustee Irving Picard. [Am Law Daily]
President Obama has directed the Department of Justice to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Attorney General Eric Holder’s letter explaining the decision to Speaker of the House John Boehner appears here.
In other marriage-equality-related news, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) — the organization represented by Ted Olson and Davis Boies inthe Prop 8 litigation — has filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit, asking that court to lift its stay on same-sex marriage in California.
Read more at the links below.
UPDATE: For some reactions to this news, see, e.g., the ACLU (pleased) and Ted Frank (displeased).
* A Valentine’s Day deportation that separates a loving couple sounds exactly like something that would make Jesus happy. Oh wait a minute, that’s not right at all. [Stop the Deportations: The DOMA Project]
* Virginia Thomas, Clarence Thomas’s wife, is now a lobbyist. Well, one of them has to talk, I guess. [Politico]
* I understand why people are annoyed when somebody edits your work and takes all the “color and attitude” out of it. But I have a solution: start a blog! That way, instead of begging the New York Times to publish your unedited thoughts, you can just publish your unedited thoughts. All hail the 21st Century. [The Volokh Conspiracy via ABA Journal]
* Being a female lawyer is a bitch, might as well own it. [Lawyerist]
* Luther Campbell (of 2 Live Crew fame) is running for mayor of Miami. You can be a white professional wrestler and be governor; let’s see if you can be a black rapper and be mayor. [Miami New Times]
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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