BREAKING: Paul Clement Resigns from King & Spalding Law firm Over its Decision to Drop DOMA Case

Attorney Paul Clement has resigned from King & Spalding law firm following the firm's decision to drop the defense of DOMA case.

Clement has joined Bancroft PLLC as partner. Bancroft has two former  Bush administration officials as partners, Amanda Terkel reports.



  1. says

    aqh ha BS stunt

    as soon as he done with the case for Boehner then King & Spalding will “rehire” him

    keep the pressure on them till they make a public statement that they will never 100% EVER REHIRE HIM and hold them to it

  2. Quite a Position says

    Please tell me that you’re not now endorsing the position that public pressure should be permitted to deny representation to unpopular parties or causes. Perhaps you’ve never read *To Kill A Mockingbird* — or, in fact, any history at all? You surely should.

    And please don’t respond by suggesting that “this is different; this time the unpopular cause is *against* civil rights, not for it.” That’s just question begging: you’re using your policy-based conclusion as your excuse for allowing public opinion and pressure to deny representation. But of course if that method is permitted, anyone can use it for any purpose.

  3. says

    @ Quite

    The world is drowning in lawyers so there is no worry

    There will always be a snake lawyer to crawl out from a rock to take on any case

    Your boo hoo hooing is BS

    When there are far far far fewer lawyers in the world then you might have a point since they would be at a premium

  4. Jacob says

    I actually think that his stance is right; just because the defense of DOMA is unpopular (and bigoted, hurtful, and essentially immoral) doesn’t mean that he should be demonized for defending it. Although I/we don’t like DOMA, it *is* still the law.

  5. says

    Individuals always deserve a defense. But the right to a defense, or any human rights at all do not apply to corporations, ideas or a heinous, discriminatory law that’s killing people and breaking up families. The idea that abstract concepts somehow deserve human rights before people do is disgustingly stupid. It’s the same kind of addled logic that gave corporations free speech rights.

  6. says


    (here comes godwin’s law)

    and it was the law to round up jews, gypsies, and homosexuals at one time and send them to death camps

    “The law” “Just following orders” was already ruled WRONG at Nuremberg trials

  7. says

    GEE, Mr. President, it only took that law firm a few days to “evolve.” It took you over TWO YEARS to decide not to defend DOMA in court, but you’re STILL enforcing it, and STILL think God wants only Hets like you to be able to marry.

  8. JFE says

    K&S did what it had to do; Clement did what he had to do. For Clement, he’s evidently up for the battle that he will lose. For K&S, it would have been pretty bad to be a firm that upholds LGBT equality and diversity and take this case.

  9. Tim says

    What a bold faced lie! Saying the client – a political rabble of heated politicians – is in need. And then waving some misrepresentation of the ethics of what it means to be a lawyer and stand by your client?

    This has nothing to do with ethics or how history will judge.

    As much as this sounds like some Atticus Finch fan applying for law school, one needs to be a decent man before being a lawyer. Taking the case was a mistake and it is time to admit it.

    Do not hide behind the flag of I’M A LAWYER

  10. yonkersconquers says

    I can imagine his new colleagues at Bancroft PLLC simply can’t wait to great him or welcome the civil rights case of the era. Cough.

    If they don’t mind rather weighty albatrosses around their neck and growing public protests on the front steps.

    The thing about “unpopular” cases, where the majority attempt to further curtail and diminish the rights of a minority, is that they have every right to pursue them – but they have no right to whine about it when they are hooted and jeered in public for their decision to. It’s not a fair fight. People hate unfair fights.

  11. Bryce says

    The main thrust of his letter is essentially that all ideas deserve representation. Therefore, lawyers shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to justice; they should accept the cases that come to them without regard to their “unpopular” nature.

    This cab rank rule is often used as a shield by lawyers with unpopular clients. More power to him for that, but he would have made that point more effectively if he had read the Judge Griffin Bell quotation he used in his letter: “You are not required to take every client that comes before you…” Cab rank requires you to take every client.

  12. daftpunkydavid says

    i’m with quite a position on this.

    what exactly was accomplished? doma will still be defended, and still by the excellent clement. and now what?

  13. exsidleynycadmin says

    Clement’s an ass, but that’s hardly a surprise.

    As to all the people who are interestingly flooding this board crying for lawyers (!) who fight against civil rights (!), LETSODOMRING nails it. We already know that just because something un-Constitutional is the law doesn’t mean it has to be defended — in fact, it must not be. This is an excellent example of that.

    There is no justice in defending injustice. You have to know that. So why all the ultra-concerned posts proclaiming the absolute necessity and the God-given right for this country to destroy its own citizens?

  14. Quite a Position says

    Just undertake this thought exercise with me: Imagine that it’s 2018. There’s a Republican in the White House. ENDA has passed (this is a thought-experiment hypo; don’t get lost in bits like whether ENDA would have passed by then). The Republican Justice Department refuses to defend it. Opponents of ENDA have successfully convinced much of the public that ENDA is not a civil-rights measure, but a “special-rights” measure that violates the civil rights of employers, property owners and other parties. In other words, they are making the claim that opposition to ENDA is a civil-rights measure, and that support of ENDA violates important rights. A Democrat-controlled House seeks private counsel to defend ENDA. Those opposed to ENDA attempt to apply public pressure to keep big, respectable law firms from taking that representation — and then try to keep any firms from taking the case.

    Are you OK with those developments? If you’re OK with what’s happening here, you can have no *principled* objection to those developments. Your position could only, at best, be: what’s good for us isn’t good for our opponents, because we’re *right,* and they’re *evil.* But of course the opponents can make the same characterization. Ascribing a label to positions you disagree with and then using the ascription of that label to apply different rules to your opponents than to yourselves is not a principled position. It’s just the sheerest (and most embarrassing) of childish foot-stamping.

  15. exsidleynycadmin says

    “…and still by the excellent clement…”

    If this is your starting point, I can see why you’re confused. It’s not possible to be evil and excellent. It just isn’t. Crafty, underhanded, criminal — but not excellent.

    And it doesn’t matter if The God of Attorneys defended DOMA because there is no case. Meanwhile, not only has Clement had his reputation ruined in the mainstream, he’s now firmly relegated to the world of right-wing crazies, where he belongs. His resignation letter has forever separated him from the rest of the world. Any veneer of “excellence” that he was trying to establish is gone for good.

    Works for me. A good part of the legal game is psychological warfare. We’ve already won that. Now on to win the case and have this guy go in the trashbin of history.

  16. booka says

    This brings to mind the quote from “A Tale of Two Cities” (in reference to the then state of the french aristocracy). Which seems entirely appropriate to this circumstance of justifing support of the wrong side of history: ” It is singular just how long the rotten can hold together, provided it is handled gently”.

  17. exsidleynycadmin says

    @QUITE: Taking a long path to say nothing still leads you to nothing. And, by the way, it’s “Democratic”, so your employers’ payslip is showing. I’m impressed that they want to shut down productive conversation on this board, but they really need a better representative.

  18. says


    so one assumes you would gladly have been a lawyer for the nazis defense at the nuremberg trials

    “the law”
    is “the law”

    “following orders” is just “Following orders”

    there is no inherent universal laws of what is right and what is wrong and the right/ nay the necessity of human conscious to rebel against evil is just a fantasy since evil is just a label

    (godwin’s law be damned…its just cocktail party bs and sometimes, far too often….discussions should bring up Nazis. The one thing the Nazis gave the world was defining true evil to measure other things against)

    I do acknowledge my post is hyperbolic but yours are bordering on enabling

  19. Tony says

    I’m, of course, all for the take down of DOMA which I think is an unconscionably unjust law. However, I do think Bancroft is right about sometimes having to represent cases you do not believe in.* It’s the only way our legal system can remain just and fair. Imagine if lawyers refused to represent any person simply suspected of a crime…

    *The firm may not believe in the case, but I believe that Bancroft probably does support the case. Or he was hoping to have a really great case in his CV.

  20. jayjay says

    I feel that it is certainly a integrable position that this man/lawyer is taking to defend a case that he initially undertaken whether it be popular or not. However what is at the core here is the belief that LGBT community should be/not be discriminated against…in such instance then to me the position that he had taken is clearly wrong [to me] and also to a lot of people in “certain quarters” as he had mentioned for good reasons. Thus, I don’t agree with a lot of comments here comparing to the kill a mocking bird etc…The issue of such discrimination should not exist period! As such, I don’t see the defense of such case will have any positive impact on our society except for the sole purpose of keeping the status quo.

  21. mcNnyc says

    The House already employs lawyers that can work on this issue.
    Speaker Boehner decided to hire an expensive law firm and hired gun at the taxpayers expense.
    Save the Legal Spin.

  22. Quite a Position says

    Erg. No, EXSID, it’s not “Democratic” in that context. It’s “Democratic Party,” not, as the right likes to say, the “Democrat Party.” However, it would be “Democrat-controlled House,” not “Democratic-controlled House,” because the *Democrats* would thereby be designated as the controllers of the House, not the *Democratics* — as would be the case if I’d used the illiterate term “Democratic-controlled House.”

    Meanwhile, I wondered how long it would take for me to be called a shill of DOMA supporters merely because I have taken a principled position that does not result in a (short-sighted, ill-considered, generally obtuse) consequentialistically “anti-DOMA” result. I am not a shill. I am gay, and am not self-hating — not that I should have to point out either of those things to establish my bona fides to hold a position. I support the defeat of DOMA. And I disagree with you as a matter of principle. Nice job grappling with those principles by the way.

  23. says

    “I would have never undertaken this matter unless I believed I had the full backing of the firm.”

    So Clement didn’t believe he was morally obligated to take this case? That it is completely legitimate for the firm to decline to take on a case like this?

    Clearly Clement does not share the belief of some in comments that every unjust law requires a powerful (& expensive) advocate.

  24. greenmanTN says

    He makes some good points (ironically the same ones defense attorneys use about why they defend murderers, rapists, and pedophiles), but there’s something he’s conveniently leaving out- the contract forbidding all members and staff of the firm from ‘advocating’ a position contrary to his defense of DOMA. His argument boils down to “You can’t tell me not to take on an unpopular and controversial case, but let’s not talk about how I was telling you what you could or couldn’t say or do in regards to that controversial issue.”

  25. Jeff says

    This really isn’t about the principle that every client deserves representation. No one suggested otherwise.

    The victory here is this: large, mainstream law firms will never again represent a high profile anti-gay client. Anti-LGBT positions are now clearly out of the mainstream, and they will be represented by fringe right-wing law firms.

    For everyone unfamiliar with big law firms, I want you to know that this is huge. They are powerful and connected and filled with talented lawyers — and none of that will be used against us anymore. And the delicious irony is that market forces (beloved by Republicans) are what earned us this victory. These firms all recruit new lawyers from the same elite law schools. King & Spalding was going to be protested everywhere during on-campus interviewing season, and would quickly have become a firm attractive only to very conservative law students.

    So it’s not about lofty principles, it’s business that got us here — along with the fact that LGBT lawyers are out in every big firm, and out in every top law school. Anti-gay work cripples recruitment and retention. We are winning!

  26. Glenn says

    May I remind folks that the “party” being represented here is the federal government. It has no “rights” — it is the entity against which rights operate. And it has extraordinarily competent counsel — counsel which the elected head of the executive branch determined was inappropriate to provide in defense of this law. So the idea that any lawyer has some “duty” to step in and defend this bigoted law is crap, pure and simple.

    Paul Clement wants this representation because he believes that DOMA is a good law and because he knows he will be rewarded within the Republican/Conservative community for his representation. That is his right, and more power to him. But it is perfectly appropriate for others to choose to have nothing to do with him. There is no “everyone deserves a lawyer” principle at issue here.

  27. walter says

    it all boils down to the same thing wasting taxpayer dollars. i thought all these good teabaggers were against wasting tax payer money. they will vote to cut medicare and social security and at the same time waste at least 50 an hour to do this. more the most part the teaparty are just bigots with a larger social agenda then economic.

  28. Rowan says

    GLENN, thank you. You nailed it. You dont have your heads in clouds.

    RUSSELL, exactly, is it Clements case now? Or the firms? So he moves from one firm to another in a matter of days with a case?

    Hmmm, this is Russell’s turn to be the big sucky dildo of all the GOP fanatics out there. This is career stuff. This is HISTORY. This is HIS case.

    He gonna win!!!

    And for people who say this is a victory, erm, it was pretty obvious that this prick said yes without speaking to ANY of the other lower partners and said they had no choice. I think this firm has quite a few high powered gays or parents of gays with prominent positions. Furthermore, I think a big donor was a gay man. I’m not saying this people were democrats but that these people realize how much cheaper getting rid of DOMA is….so it was like huh???

    They used the popularity as an excuse.

  29. luminum says

    @Greenmartin: You nailed it. I agree with Clement’s reasoning that even a losing case should be lost with the correct proceedings. That alone insures that there is no case to be made. Allowing due process will settle unconstitutionality once and for all.

    However, as you pointed out, Clement’s reasoning means little to me precisely because of that contract demanding that K&S and all of its employees cease advocating against DOMA in any sort of way. That is insidious enough a reason for me to back out of it.

  30. Hue-Man says

    1. Boehner needed to hire a lawyer and he found the one he wanted.
    2. Clement either didn’t follow K&S new client vetting procedures or K&S procedures were not specific enough (highly unlikely since this is a LAW firm). This is a bread and butter issue for professional firms to avoid gangsters, drug money, and to uphold the good name of the firm.
    3. The muzzle order on the whole of K&S should have killed this new client if it had been properly disclosed to the vetting committee.
    4. His new firm has the wealthiest client in the world (US govt) for an unlimited billing for an unlimited period of time – the $500K is the tip of the iceberg. Boutique firms print money with clients like this, especially ones that literally print money!
    5. This should be a fun fight that I hope the good guys win. (In a perfect world, Clement should advise his client to drop an unwinnable action.)

  31. cREATIVE1 says



  32. Ninong says

    Didn’t K&S pay Clement a bonus of $5 million to come back? What about the NFL defense of the players’ antitrust suit? Does that go with him or does it stay with K&S?

    Isn’t it amazing that once you get nominated to a government position of trust, megamillion-dollar deals follow you as soon as you leave office. Just look at how Dick Cheney made more than $50 million at Halliburton in spite of having no particular expertise in the oil business.

    This will only help K&S now that they have dropped this case. It’s clear that their memo to all employees ordering them to quit any personal political advocacy during the period of this representation would have been in violation of California law anyway.

    Good riddance to Paul Clement. Let him stick with all the former Bushies from now on.

  33. says

    The appropriate place to apply pressure is on those who bring the suit (Republicans), and in selecting the right people to plead our side.

    Beohner is getting plenty of pressure form the Rel right to defend Doma. He needs to hear from us, and our friends. Pressuring the lawyers is not the wisest move – you do not want the justice system responding to sensitivity of issues as per representation. No one will get a fair hearing if that happens… (and it has happened in the past)

  34. Jim says

    The resignation letter’s last paragraph seems out of place a quite bitter. It strikes me as unprofessional to state in your resignation letter where you are taking your marbles.

  35. epic says

    @quite …I’m sorry you don’t understand the difference, i don;t know what is broken inside you that you can see the difference… what you described…are not the same AT ALL

  36. Austin says

    No quite no need, you talking hyperbole nonsense, as is your style, please get back on your knees, their are several repugnant you have yet to suck 

  37. Jon B says

    I wouldn’t bother writing to Bancroft. The founder, Viet Dihn, is literally the man who wrote the PATRIOT Act. It is a very small firm and, unlike King and Spalding, won’t suffer any backlash from law schools and recruiting as a result of taking on this representation. King and Spalding would have been shooting itself in the leg if it went through with representation. It would no longer be able to send any recruiters to any events are law schools where gay groups were likely to protest. Bancroft doesn’t send people to law schools, and likely does no recruiting of any sort directly.

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