Law Firms

Clement Has No Regrets Over Abrupt Exit from King & Spalding

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Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who made headlines two months ago when he resigned his BigLaw partnership on principle and moved to a small firm, says he has no regrets about the decision.

That may be in part because Clement’s practice didn’t skip a beat. He found a home quickly with old friend Viet Dinh at Bancroft, and his clients—including the NFL—went with him.

“Clement has been crazy busy ever since, working not only on the NFL and the case that triggered his departure from King & Spalding—defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),” the National Law Journal (reg. req.) reports after an extensive interview with Clement.

Reporting for the NLJ, Tony Mauro notes that Clement and Dinh wanted to make clear that Clement hadn’t “escaped to a thoroughly conservative safe house” where liberal clients are unwelcome. Clement’s marquee cases of late are undeniably at the top of many conservative agendas. But Dinh and Clement maintain that they don’t limit the firm.

“I wouldn’t want people to get the impression that just because I have a couple of high-profile cases that people would identify as conservative, that means they are the only cases we do,” Clement tells Mauro. “That’s not accurate.”

Dinh says Bancroft remains on good terms with King & Spalding and is still working with the firm despite the very public dustup with Clement. In April, King & Spalding dropped its representation of the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives in defense of a controversial federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriages. Clement, who’d agreed to represent the House, resigned in protest.

Without commenting on the vetting process or the internal deliberations at the firm, Clement tells Mauro he’s had no second thoughts about leaving.

“You don’t have an obligation to take every case that walks in the door,” he said, “but once you undertake a representation, the dynamic changes …you have an obligation to see it through.”

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Withdrawing from Controversial Case Was Awkward for King & Spalding, But That’s About All”

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