Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is in the news again and wins my “straight-talkin’ award” for firing the law firm of King and Spalding (K&S) for its mistreatment of its client, the U.S. House of Representatives. K&S had been representing the Commonwealth in certain legal matters. But no longer.
“On September 15, 2009, your firm was appointed by this office to serve as Special Counsel…I write now to terminate that appointment, effective immediately.”
. . .
“We seek to do business exclusively with law firms that do more than merely aim to perform the bottom of the barrel ethical obligations and do just enough on behalf of their clients to avoid trouble for themselves.”
. . .
“Virginia does not shy away from hiring outside counsel because they may have ongoing professional relationships with people or entities, or on behalf of causes, that I, or my office, or Virginia as a whole, may not support. But, it is crucial for us to be able to trust and rely on the fact that our outside counsel will not desert Virginia due to pressure by an outside group or groups.”
. . .
“Virginia seeks firms of commitment, courage, strength and toughness, and unfortunately, what the world has learned of King & Spalding, is that your firm utterly lacks those qualities.”
. . .
“However, King & Spalding’s willingness to abandon a client, the United States House of Representatives, in connection with the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), was such an obsequious act of weakness, that I feel compelled to end your legal association with Virginia so that there is no chance that one of my legal clients might be put in the embarrassing and difficult situation like the client you walked away from…”
. . .
“For future reference, your firm is not welcome to re-apply for special counsel status at any time as long as I am the Attorney General of Virginia.”
The letter can be found here.
The criticism of K&S and the Human Rights Campaign continues, and not just from the Right. Take a look at what the New York Times, the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus, the L.A. Times, and the gay blogger Andrew Sullivan had to say.