Hint Of Public Pressure Sends Big Law Firms Scurrying

Once again, the legal profession has cloaked itself in infamy by capitulating to public pressure and abandoning the efforts of President Donald Trump and the GOP to insure the integrity of the American election.

A group of rabid anti-Trump Republican consultants called The Lincoln Project earlier this month announced a $500,000 advertising campaign. The aim was to persuade employees of law firms representing Trump to resign and to call on clients to stop working with firms. Twitter subsequently removed posts in which The Lincoln Project shared the phone number and emails addresses of Trump/GOP attorneys.

By any measure, the campaign was wildly successful. It appears that Trump is now without legal counsel with any significant experience in election law.

Now the question is – what’s off limits going forward? Will The Lincoln Project and its ilk target judges who agree to consider election lawsuits? Aren’t they also contributing to the downfall of democracy as we know it?

Big Firms Dump Trump

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur of Columbus OH, caved immediately. It withdrew from a federal lawsuit it had filed three days earlier on behalf of the Republican  Party in Philadelphia. Such a move is devastating to both the lawsuit and the client but, in its withdrawal motion, Porter Wright said the plaintiffs would be “best served” if it resigned. Forbes reports that Porter Wright received more than $580,000 in legal fees from the Trump campaign since June.

Snell & Wilmer, a Phoenix, AZ-based law firm, also quickly withdrew as counsel to the Republican National Committee. It had just filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County that claimed votes for Trump were improperly excluded from the vote tally.

A phalanx of anti-Trump groups targeted Jones Day, a 127-year-old law firm based in Cleveland, OH that represents clients like General Motors and Walmart. One of the largest law firms in the U.S., Jones Day was counsel to Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns and has represented Trump in numerous lawsuits over the past four years.

Ben Meiselas, a partner at Geragos & Geragos, a California entertainment law firm, produced a slick video called, Shame on Jones Day, and started a twitter hashtag, #shameonjonesday. Meiselas represents Colin Kaepernick.

Attorney John Bonifaz, an activist Democrat and president of Free Speech for People, promoted an “unpermitted” rally outside Jones Day’s offices in Manhattan. Bonifaz has called for the criminal prosecution of Trump and the impeachment and the disbarment of Attorney General William Barr.

Petitions were circulated at elite law schools telling students not to work at Jones Day.

Jones Day was prompted to release a statement assuring protesters that it is not representing Trump, his campaign or any affiliated party in any litigation alleging voter fraud or contesting the results of the 2020 election.  

The firm states it is only seeking U.S. Supreme Court review, on behalf of the Pennsylvania GOP, of the constitutionality of a ruling by PA election officials to accept any ballots delivered to them up to three days after election day. The case “presents an important and recurring rule-of-law question under the U.S. Constitution,” said the firm, adding that it will not withdraw from “that” representation.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that top attorneys at Jones Day’s Washington office,  assured colleagues the firm would not get involved in any additional litigation in this election.

This from a law firm that represented the Bin Laden Family following the 9/11 attacks.

Kirkland & Ellis

What’s it like to be in the cross-hairs of a vicious, career-crushing and client-targeted social media campaign?

Linda A. Kerns, a solo practitioner in Philadelphia, knows.

The ABA Journal reported Kerns sought to withdraw from litigation filed on behalf of Trump in Pennsylvania a day after an associate at Kirkland & Ellis, which was opposing counsel in her case, left her an “abusive” voicemail message. Kirkland & Ellis is one of the largest law firms in the world and represents Pennsylvania’s secretary of state.  

Kerns filed a motion for sanctions against the associate, citing court rules that require attorneys to be civil and respectful toward other attorneys.

Kirkland has asked the court to deny Kerns’ motion for sanctions, claiming in court documents that its unnamed associate was acting in his personal capacity and was not even aware of Kirkland’s role in the case.

Kerns claims she has been “subjected to continuous harassment in the form of abusive e-mails, phone calls, physical and economic threats, and even accusations of treason – all for representing the President of the United States’ campaign in this litigation.”  She notes it is a sad commentary that “we currently reside in a world where abuse and harassment are the costs of taking on a representation unpopular with some.”

Money

The lawsuit filed and abandoned by Porter Wright struck a noble chord: “American citizens deserve fair elections. Every legal – and not illegal – vote should be counted… We must protect our democracy with complete transparency.”

You wouldn’t think Democrats would argue that it literally undermines our country and is unpatriotic to inquire whether every vote is legally cast in a Presidential election. Of course, they want to retain their “victory.”

The real reason the big law firms abandoned Trump and the GOP has nothing to do with patriotism. They didn’t want to risk losing more profitable clients, like Walmart and General Motors.

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