Law Firms

Lawyer arguing on behalf of gay marriage ban in SCOTUS takes leave from his firm

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A partner at Warner Norcross & Judd is taking a leave of absence from his firm to defend Michigan’s ban on gay marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The partner, John Bursch, was Michigan’s solicitor general from 2011 to 2013. Warner Norcross granted the leave to Bursch after refusing to take the case, the National Law Journal reports.

“It’s one of those issues where I think there are strong emotions on both sides,” Warner Norcross managing partner Douglas Wagner told the National Law Journal. “With over 7,000 active clients and almost 500 people at the firm, we’ve got people on both sides of the issue.”

Two other lawyers who defended gay marriage bans left their law firms. Gene Schaerr left Winston & Strawn last year, while Paul Clement left King & Spalding in 2011.

Schaerr told the National Law Journal that at many law firms, it’s more hazardous to defend a same-sex marriage ban than it is to represent a death row prisoner or a terrorism defendant. “There are some points of view that are just considered to be so off-limit that you can’t articulate them and defend them in court without facing risks,” Schaerr said.

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