Too Hot To Handle?

How to evaluate a partner's wish to represent a controversial client--before taking on the case.

, The American Lawyer


How should big law firms decide whether to approve partners' representation of controversial clients? This is the significant question raised by the dustup between King & Spalding and former solicitor general Paul Clement over Clement's contract to represent the House of Representatives in defending the Defense of Marriage Act. (DOMA places the federal government firmly against recognition of same-sex marriage.) This question facing many general service firms will become increasingly important in our polarized culture: So many controversial cases raise divisive political, policy, and moral issues, and, increasingly, firms may be forced to say where they stand on the political spectrum in choosing clients.

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