29 April 2011

In response to The Washington Post

I posted the following as a comment to Ms. Marcus's editorial that appeared in yesterday's Washington Post:

Ms. Marcus,

I feel your editorial to be misrepresentative of the facts at hand. There are two major issues the LGBT community had with King & Spalding's retention by House Speaker Boehner to defend DOMA:

First, King & Spalding has, traditionally, been an ally of the LGBT community, and touted its diversity rating and support of LGBT-issues to prospective clients and law students seeking to work for the firm. Defending a law that denies LGBT people access to over 1,138 federal rights and benefits was an enormous slap in the face to the community and in direct contravention with King & Spalding's long-standing support of the community.

Second, the contract into which Mr. Clement entered King & Spalding with the House of Representatives placed illegal (in at least two states) and unenforceable conditions on the workers of a firm the size King & Spalding. To wit, ALL King & Spalding employees, including the gay partners of King & Spalding who had been with the firm for many years longer than Mr. Clement, were prohibiting, via Mr. Clement's representation of the House in defending DOMA, from advocating or lobbying against DOMA.

The partners, associates, and non-lawyer staff at King & Spalding who oppose DOMA and are supportive of LGBT equality, such as the lawyers from King & Spalding's Atlanta offices who serve on the Board of Directors of the Stonewall Bar Association, including its president, would, essentially, have had to resign their positions either from the firm itself or from their positions they have long held in the LGBT community.

I would also imagine that King & Spalding, given its long-standing support and partnership with LGBT organizations, is actively involved in matters and/or has clients whose representation would violate paragraphs 4(f) and 4(g) of the Contract governing King & Spalding's representation of the House in defending DOMA.

To me, this second reason is most compelling, and in my opinion is most likely the cause for King & Spalding's withdrawal as counsel.

Mr. Clement has not been bullied into withdrawing from representing his client. King & Spalding. He has signed on with a boutique law firm, where his presence makes him the seventh lawyer in the firm. His representation will continue, in a firm that is not encumbered by LGBT-supportive partners and their clients who long pre-date his joining the firm.

Upon re-examination of the impact of being retained to defend DOMA and the conditions placed upon it and its employees by the House of Representatives, King & Spalding made the decision it should have made in the first place.

[Note: The last two paragraphs have been edited and thus appear differently than the comment I originally left in response to Ms. Marcus's editorial; no other changes have been made save the last two paragraphs, which appeared as a single paragraph in my original comment.]