Law Firms

King & Spalding Partner Makes Modestly Helpful Bid to 'Man Up' to DOMA Mess, PR Expert Says

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Yet another partner at King & Spalding has stepped forward and issued a mea culpa over the firm’s decision drop its defense of the federal law banning recognition of gay marriages.

Managing partner Robert Hays initially took responsibility for any mistakes that occurred after partner Paul Clement left the law firm so he could continue to represent the U.S. House of Representatives in challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act. Now the firm’s Washington, D.C., managing partner, J. Sedwick “Wick” Sollers, has issued his own statement, report the Careerist and The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times, citing a story in the Daily Report (sub. req.).

“I want to make sure the record is clear that I was the member of firm management in primary contact with Paul Clement regarding this matter,” Sollers said. “As I have reflected on this, despite the fact that our standard client/matter review process was not followed, it was reasonable for him to believe that the firm would accept the matter. This was an unfortunate misunderstanding with a friend whom I personally recruited to the firm and strongly supported. I am deeply disappointed by Paul’s departure and regret the breakdown in communications.”

Clement signed a contract accepting the matter on April 14, but the committee that reviews new clients wasn’t aware of it until April 18, the same day the public found out, according to The BLT summary. Hays had called the vetting “inadequate” in his statement.

The Careerist interviewed public relations expert Bob Witeck, who said Sollers’ statement indicates he wants to “man up.” Witeck sees the statement as modestly helpful, but he wonders whether the firm is making a mistake “by continuing to play out the drama in public.”

Last updated May 13 to correct the spelling of Sollers’ name.

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