David Latt’s “On the Need for Subversives’ Viewpoint in Biglaw”

An excerpt from David Latt’s original Jurisdiction Newsletter (and previously published by him The Boston Globe), though the whole thing is worth reading:

On the morning of June 23, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, holding that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home You might have expected that the lawyers who won the case, famous Supreme Court litigators Paul Clement and Erin Murphy, would be congratulated for such a big win within their firm.

Instead, they got walking papers. That afternoon, Clement and Murphy announced in the Wall Street Journal that they were leaving Kirkland & Ellis, the nation’s highest-grossing law firm. Why? Because Kirkland presented them with an ultimatum: withdraw from representing clients in Second Amendment cases, including existing clients in ongoing representation, or withdraw from the firm.

“We cannot abandon our clients because their position is unpopular in some circles,” the lawyers wrote. So they left Kirkland to start their own litigation firm.

It doesn’t just represent unpopular clients; Expressing even an unpopular opinion can be a fireable offense in the world of large law firms (aka “Big Law”) today. Support the Supreme Court verdict Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationwhich is reversed Roe v. Wade and sent abortions back to the state. At least two anti-abortion female partners have complained — one in the Wall Street Journal and one in Original Jurisdiction, my newsletter about the legal profession — that their support for Dobbs played a large role in forcing them out of the firm….

Of course, it is not a recent development that large law firms are overwhelmingly generous (as reflected, for example, in their one-way contributions to political campaigns). What’s different today is not just the intensity of bias but the fact that you can lose your job for holding the wrong opinion. Simply put, Big Law — the nation’s largest, most prestigious, most profitable law firm, which in many ways sets the standard for the rest of the legal profession — is currently seized by ideological intolerance and groupthink. (There are some exceptions — notably Jones Day, which has gained notoriety for its work on behalf of Trump.) …