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05/12/2011

Report: Conservative was quite liberal with King & Spalding protocol

by Jeremy Hooper

The Fulton County Daily Report has some new intel regarding what really went down at King & Spalding -- Fresh deets that seem to call into question who, exactly, acted in discord with firm policy. Wall Street Journal's Nathan Koppel breaks down the pertinent claims:

[Paul] Clement has stated that he felt that he had the backing of the firm before he took on the DOMA case.

But the [Fulton County Daily Report] spoke to two firm lawyers and a third source anonymously who said that the DOMA matter was not fully submitted to King & Spalding's business review committee, a firm requirement, before Clement signed a contract obligating the firm. They said the committee immediately began reviewing the case the day after the firm learned of the contract—and rejected it the next day, according to the Daily Report.

The sources said the firm’s partners were taken by surprise when news broke that Clement had taken the case. “Any matter that is controversial in any way or where there is a discounted rate goes through the business review committee,” one of the sources told the Daily Report, noting that the DOMA engagement was both controversial and had a discounted rate.

Fresh Details on King & Spalding’s DOMA Withdrawal [WSJ]

So NOM and FRC and whoever else can harp on and on about how out-of-line King & Spalding was in dropping DOMA defense (and, by extension, losing Clement). But they cannot do so without overlooking some very pertinent, very understandable points regarding the law firm's most basic of operations. Because if these three sources are to believed, there was an intra-firm misunderstanding that led to understandable departure (at best), or deliberate procedural carelessness (at worst).

***

*In case you missed it (since interest seems completely lacking): NOM has launched an entire fundraiser around the idea that King & Spalding acted inappropriately.

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