Big Law Firm Hosts Hillary in New York

Photo by Marc Nozell (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was in New York on Thursday, and one Big Law firm rolled out the red carpet.

According to Clinton’s campaign website, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison hosted a fundraiser for Clinton on Thursday afternoon. Titled “Conversation with Hillary,” the event cost $2,700 per person to attend.

Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford Law School and director of the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, said that while individual lawyers at large law firms have personal incentives to mix with presidential contenders, Paul Weiss’s hosting of a fundraiser is probably a straightforward business decision.

“Paul Weiss has long been associated with progressive causes,” Rhode said. “The idea that they would support a Democratic candidate will come as no surprise. I’m assuming being out front in their support of Clinton is something they’ve identified as being viewed favorably by clients.”

Large law firms like Paul Weiss have developed reputations over the years for supporting political campaigns on either side of the aisle, although their track records are often mixed. One blog operated by Derek T. Muller, an associate professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law has ranked law firms for their liberal or conservative support.

Among firms considered to be the most liberal are WilmerHale, Ropes & Gray and Perkins Coie, according to a separate report by Harvard

On Thursday morning, Paul Weiss representatives did not return multiple requests for comment.

Paul Weiss isn’t the first prominent New York law firm to open its arms to Clinton. Earlier this year, Clinton spoke at two different fundraisers hosted by Sullivan & Cromwell and a prominent partner at Chadbourne & Parke.

Associated with the political left, the firm is, not surprisingly, also closely associated with the Clinton family specifically. Beth Wilkinson, a partner in the litigation group, is currently representing Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff when she was Secretary of State, in ongoing legal battles over whether Clinton breached confidentiality requirements by using her personal email.

Current Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is a former Paul Weiss partner who left the firm in 1998 to serve as General Counsel to the Air Force under President Bill Clinton, and in the late 1990s, Ted Wells, who later became a Paul Weiss partner, represented Tennessee real estate mogul Franklin Haney against charges he’d funneled $100,000 in illegal contributions to President Clinton and other politicians.