Pro Bono

Gun-control groups join BigLaw coalition; seven firms are on board so far

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Seven well-known law firms have agreed to provide tens of millions of dollars in free legal services to gun-control groups, and several more firms are expected to join the effort in coming months.

A New York Times DealBook article identifies the law firms as: Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Covington & Burling; Arnold & Porter; O’Melveny & Myers; Dentons; Munger, Tolles & Olson; and Hogan Lovells. The name of the new coalition is the Firearms Accountability Counsel Task Force.

“This effort is highly unusual in its scale,” according to the article. “Although law firms often donate time to individual causes, and some firms have worked on gun control on a piecemeal basis, the number and the prominence of the firms involved in the new coalition are unheard of for modern-day BigLaw.”

The firms will help will help the coalition file lawsuits and draft regulatory complaints. One aim will be to overturn state laws that require businesses and local governments to allow guns on their property. Another goal is to challenge congressional restrictions on the release of data about the use of firearms in crimes. A third strategy is to develop antitrust challenges to gun industry efforts said to stifle competition, such as an effort to discourage technology that allows guns to be used only by their registered owners.

Some law firm leaders emphasized in interviews with DealBook that the overarching goal is to prevent gun violence, rather than to erode gun rights.

“There is an epidemic of gun violence in this country, and the law can save innocent lives without infringing constitutional rights,” said Brad Brian, co-managing partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson.

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