I am truly sorry that so much of the news and gossip, even in our little world of law, is about Donald Trump, but that’s what keeps popping up. I’ll try to keep it brief.
Lawyers are flooding the White House. During the election, I could barely find one Big Law supporter for Trump. Now they’re coming out of the woodwork.
On March 7, the White House announced 26 new hires for its legal team. Above the Law’s David Lat counted 19 Big Law alums, including eight partners. How exciting is that?
And get this, four lawyers are dedicated to working on ethics issues, including Stefan Passantino, a former Dentons partner, who’s been designed “special ethics counselor.” As the AP aptly notes, “Trump, a billionaire who continues to profit from his global business empire, and his Cabinet, which includes an unprecedented number of wealthy business leaders, pose a bounty of ethics questions.”
That “bounty” might mean the White House will be hiring more lawyers. Think of all the juicy legal matters you can work on: ethics probes, investigation into the administration’s ties to Russia, Trump’s allegation that Obama wiretapped him and more. Every time Trump tweets, there’s potential work for lawyers!
Maybe being White House counsel is sucky. As you know, I’ve been pretty hard on White House counsel Don McGahn for what he seems to be not doing—like telling Donald Trump and his troops that ethical breaches are not cool.
But maybe McGahn and Trump aren’t always on the same page. There are hints that Trump at times is not happy with McGahn. The New York Times reports that Trump was furious that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigating his campaign’s communication with the Russians, “singling out the White House counsel’s office and the communications staff in a tirade visible through the window to a nearby television camera.”
Meet the Lawyer Running Ivanka’s Company
Daddy isn’t the only one dependent on legal minds. After disassociating from her own business to dedicate herself to making America great (again), Ivanka Trump anointed Abigail Klem president of her fashion company. A graduate of UC-Hastings Law School and Indiana University, Klem is also a former Skadden associate (she worked there from 1995-1996).
Klem “looks like Ivanka Trump (with a splash of Melania, too),” according to fashion news site Refinery29. A perfect match except for this little glitch: Klem’s a Democrat who supports Planned Parenthood.
Susman Godfrey Partner Writes About Trump, the Anti-Role Model
Even in redder-than-red Texas, Susman Godfrey partner Shawn Raymond isn’t keeping his Trump frustrations under wraps. He wrote an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle about the challenges of explaining Trump’s behavior to his young sons. Bottom line: “It’s embarrassing that I have to use the president of the United States as the example of how not to behave.” Worth a read for any parent in the Trump era.
My Kind of Man
I like a man who’s not afraid to say no. During the beauty contest for solicitor general, Miguel Estrada stood out for not mincing words. He didn’t want to be solicitor general. He told The National Law Journal’s Tony Mauro: “I would never accept a job that requires Senate confirmation or, for that matter, willingly place myself in any situation (e.g., a hearing room) in which convention requires that I be civil to Chuck Schumer.”
Sure enough, he wasn’t offered the job. Trump ended up nominating acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco, another former Jones Day partner.
Contact Vivia Chen at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @lawcareerist.