Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of America’s most prominent law firms, has decided to stop representing Second Amendment cases. This left the two primary attorneys who successfully argued New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen before the Supreme Court with no clients and no jobs.
Paul Clement, a former Solicitor general, and Erin Murphy, a regular Supreme Court litigator, resigned from their positions at Kirkland & Ellis and announced they would open their own business in Washington, D.C. Clement argued the Defense of Marriage Act in 2011 for Republican legislators.
Clement also resigned at King & Spalding, after being forced by clients to drop the case on gay marriage.
Jon Ballis was Kirkland’s executive chair and stated that Paul and Erin were “valuable friends”. We are happy for them and look forward to working with them on matters that don’t involve the Second Amendment.
“We were given a stark choice: either withdraw from ongoing representations or withdraw from the firm,” Clement said in a statement. “Anyone who knows us and our views regarding professional responsibility and client loyalty know there was only one course open to us: We could not abandon ongoing representations just because a client’s position is unpopular in some circles.”
Through a firm spokesperson, Kirkland confirmed its decision but did not explain its rationale for dropping gun cases. A key attorney at Kirkland, Jon Ballis, said he hoped the firm could continue to work with Clement and Murphy on matters not related to guns.
It’s mind-boggling. As an editorial in the Wall Street Journal points out, it’s not like Kirkland & Ellis didn’t know that Clement specialized in conservative cases when they hired him in 2016. They were fully aware that Clement represented the NRA. Clement made retention of the NRA as a client a condition of his employment.
These days, gun-rights advocates are not popular in the wealthy precincts that exist in Los Angeles and New York. Kirkland represents business clients. The Constitution is a second-class citizen when it comes to the core constitutional rights and corporate retainers that fund summer homes in Hamptons.
This is an ethical legal representation at its worst. Unpopular clients are most in need of legal counsel. Lawyers will not represent clients who lie or fail to pay their bills. However, Mr. Clement’s gun clients include individuals and state gun groups such as the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. It won its case at Thursday’s High Court. Kirkland is throwing out clients who have not done anything wrong and have cases in litigation. Ms. Murphy and Mr. Clement stated that “we could not abandon ongoing representations simply because a client isn’t popular in some circles.”
Law firms are being pressured by the left to lose clients that they don’t like, while also claiming that terrorists deserve the best legal representation.
The left prefers being politically correct to win important cases.