Why Aren't Any of the Biggest U.S. Law Firms Defending Traditional Marriage?

Paul Clement has had one of the most storied careers in the law.

One top legal recruiter said that when Clement was graduating from Harvard Law, all the firms were practically salivating to get him: “Paul Clement is the Holy Grail of law firm recruiting... The buzz in the legal world about Clement is like the buzz in basketball when LeBron James was coming out of high school and turning pro. It will be interesting to see where the market will go.”

He’s only 47 but has been touted as a Supreme Court pick for years. According to Scotusblog he has argued an astonishing 69 cases before the Supreme Court, only 10 cases shy of the record for any lawyer now practicing. So prolific is he before the Court, in 2012 he argued only one less case than the US Solicitor General.

In 2011 he was a partner at the firm of King and Spalding, and on behalf of his firm he accepted the assignment to represent the US House of Representatives in defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which made man-woman marriage the only kind of marriage recognized by the Federal Government. The law should have been defended by the US Department of Justice, but Eric Holder refused.

His partners decided they would not allow him to carry on with the case, an usual move that caused a great deal of controversy at the time. Clement had to resign in order to represent the controversial case, which he did. His firm let him go, perhaps the best lawyer of his generation, rather than upset the LGBT establishment.

Most firms have wised up since then – now they don’t even talk to those who want to hire them to defend traditional marriage in the courts.

Reuters reported Tuesday that none of the top firms in the country have taken up even a single case defending traditional marriage, yet dozens of them have vied to represent gay plaintiffs.

Reuters looked at “more than 100 court filings during the past year” and discovered that "at least 30 of the country’s largest firms are representing challengers to state laws banning same-sex marriage." They further discovered “not a single member of the Am Law 200, a commonly used ranking of the largest U.S. law firms by revenue, is defending gay marriage prohibitions.”

Gene Schaerr, a partner at one of the largest law firms in the world, Winston and Strawn, had to resign his partnership in order to defend his home state of Utah on the question of same-sex marriage.

Reuters reports that of these wildly expensive law firms, most if not all are are defending LGBT clients pro bono, for free. Akin Gump racked up 1,100 hours in litigation in a single same-sex marriage case in Texas.

Fear stalks the halls of corporate America for anyone who steps out for traditional marriage. The LGBT establishment has shown it can take down CEOs of companies and can get major companies to back down – such as Barilla Pasta whose CEO said he would not use a gay couple in advertising. Most companies have simply signed up for LGBT advocacy.

The LGBT establishment likes it this way. The Human Rights Campaign each year publishes a report on corporations and their friendliness to LGBTs. According to Reuters, “most law firms get '100%' ratings, but in its 2011 index Human Rights Campaign rated the 900-lawyer firm Foley & Lardner '85%' and dropped it to '60%' the following year.” The firm’s crime was representing the National Organization for Marriage in the Washington, D.C., case on same sex marriage.

Critics of the LGBT movement point out that it is mostly one of elites and not grassroots, and these elites have million-dollar-a-year law firm partners running scared.

A spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign told Reuters, “Fear is a healthy motivator to do the right thing. I’m not suggesting that the other side shouldn’t have attorneys. I’m saying we’re going to judge those attorneys.”

In other words: Nice law career you have there. Hope nothing happens to it.


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