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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.


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  1. @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.

    Posted by: exsidleynycadmin | Apr 25, 2011 12:44:32 PM

  2. @Quite

    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

    Posted by: | Apr 25, 2011 12:52:32 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: Tony | Apr 25, 2011 12:52:54 PM

  4. 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 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.

    Posted by: jayjay | Apr 25, 2011 12:52:58 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Apr 25, 2011 12:53:13 PM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: Quite a Position | Apr 25, 2011 1:01:51 PM

  7. "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.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Apr 25, 2011 1:01:55 PM

  8. 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."

    Posted by: greenmanTN | Apr 25, 2011 1:03:54 PM

  9. Good for him! I believe in the adversary system (kinda)! Give it a vigorous defense, and let justice prevail!

    Posted by: Dan4444 | Apr 25, 2011 1:04:21 PM

  10. 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!

    Posted by: Jeff | Apr 25, 2011 1:06:50 PM

  11. Dial 1-800-555-WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!

    Posted by: Davein SF | Apr 25, 2011 1:13:30 PM

  12. 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.

    Posted by: Glenn | Apr 25, 2011 1:20:44 PM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: walter | Apr 25, 2011 1:47:04 PM

  14. 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 it was like huh???

    They used the popularity as an excuse.

    Posted by: Rowan | Apr 25, 2011 1:52:02 PM

  15. @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.

    Posted by: luminum | Apr 25, 2011 2:01:37 PM

  16. 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.)

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Apr 25, 2011 2:04:21 PM



    Posted by: cREATIVE1 | Apr 25, 2011 2:39:33 PM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: Ninong | Apr 25, 2011 3:47:43 PM

  19. Apparently Andrew Sullivan who I HATE is saying what I am saying. Clements took the deal without notifying ANYONE.

    Use our brains people!

    Posted by: Rowan | Apr 25, 2011 4:04:43 PM

  20. 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)

    Posted by: ted | Apr 25, 2011 4:13:42 PM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 25, 2011 4:26:33 PM

  22. How "brave" of Clement and Bancroft to defend the oppressed majority of the House of representatives for free.

    Oh, wait a minute...

    Posted by: BobN | Apr 25, 2011 6:31:11 PM

  23. 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.

    Posted by: Jim | Apr 25, 2011 8:03:40 PM

  24. @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

    Posted by: epic | Apr 25, 2011 8:21:53 PM

  25. I don't know- I think his letter rambles a little. Misquotes Bell. I don't think he's all that.

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 25, 2011 10:39:05 PM

  26. « | 1 2 3 »

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