Friday, April 29, 2011

The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli has severed the state of Virginia's connection with King & Spaulding, which has been in the news for agreeing to, then withdrawing from, representation of the House of Representatives in the DOMA litigation. K&S partner Paul Clement then resigned in protest, and the whole thing has been a massive mess for the Atlanta-firm.

The consensus is that K&S withdrew under pressure from Coca-Cola, one of its biggest clients. Virginia is not as big a money-source as Coke, but the bigger point is that there is no winning move here for a large, wide-ranging firm like K&S. Once they agreed to represent the pro-DOMA side, they were doomed no matter what they did. I agree that they had an obligation (upon entering into representation) to see it to the end, but the only true winning move would have been not to get involved in the first place.

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