December 06, 2020

Powerbroker Kirkland & Ellis and Odd Behaviors

It’s an interesting how the major power player in D.C. appears to be the elite law firm Kirkland & Ellis. They are literally everywhere, lurking behind every headline, the straw that stirs the drink. 

Kirkland & Ellis: the firm for all political parties, the establishment’s establishment. Founded in Chicago in 1909, they are the world’s wealthiest law firm. They’ve represented everyone from Jeffry Epstein to Paul Manafort to the State of PA against Donald Trump. Their ranks have included Attorney General William Barr among many others. 

Kirkland Downsizes and at the Same Time Upsizes with a Crisis Lawyer

In an October story just before the election, Kirkland started some weird stuff: 

“Kirkland & Ellis is not only the richest firm in the world, it’s also one of the nation’s greatest law firms. But outside of the firm’s compelling combination of prestige, profitability, and pay, something seems to be going on at K&E. Even for a firm with more than 1,000 partners, Kirkland has lost an unusually high number of them in 2020. On top of that, the firm was the first to refuse to offer special fall bonuses to associates, leading some to question why K&E was unwilling to share the wealth during a reportedly banner year. Now, we’ve received word that the firm has been conducting layoffs.”

But at the same time, Kirkland hired a huge “get”, Zuckerberg’s lawyer and leading leading congressional investigations lawyer:

A top banking lawyer who just joined Blackstone's board is moving to the powerhouse law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Reginald Brown, (Oct 2020) a top financial regulatory lawyer, and three of his partners are leaving WilmerHale for Kirkland & Ellis.

Brown, a partner at WilmerHale who was named in September to a position on Blackstone's board of directors, has become one of the most prominent lawyers to advise banks and other clients in the regulatory hot seat. It's the latest big hire by Kirkland & Ellis, a firm known for its high profits and its proximity to the private-equity industry.

He has advised Bank of America on multiple matters over the years, including helping the bank through congressional scrutiny amid the financial crisis and helping it avoid precious-metals spoofing charges, Bloomberg reported earlier this year. He also represented Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign advisor, for a time.

Brown was also vice chair of WilmerHale's crisis management group. He has reportedly helped numerous executives prepare for testimony before Congress, including Wells Fargo's new CEO Charlie Scharf and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Kirkland represented Staple Street Capital in 2018 in the Dominion Voting Deal

In 2016, a Wikileak shows Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta asking for help with Clinton campaign from Kirkland partner Kamran Bajwa who cleared it with Bill Singer:

Kirkland’s partner Bill Singer was a political reformer who took on Richard Daley, lost, and went 180 degrees from outsider to insider by joining Kirkland.

From the piece: 

“Singer was a political wunderkind who in 1969, as a 29-year-old novice, had upset the Daley machine in a special North Side aldermanic election. Three years later he and the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a group of insurgents in a bitter dispute over seats to the Democratic National Convention, successfully replacing Daley and his delegates.

For most realists Singer was just another sacrificial lamb, but for many liberals the 1975 mayoral race was the match-up they had been waiting for: It was David against Goliath, right versus wrong, the sunlight of reform breaking through the dark clouds of patronage, the future versus the past...

He has always been a presence, and an influential one, has always been active, but in the years since his defeat by Daley he has changed more than his weight, in 1980 making a decision that startled some people and sharply altered the course of his career.

He joined Kirkland & Ellis... a symbol of establishment influence...The result has been a transformation from political maverick to power broker, from an outsider at City Hall to a well-connected insider who has considerable clout on a number of issues.”

Kirkland Controls DOJ?

“Attorney General Bill Barr’s alarming expansion of political control at the DOJ in advance of the election is also a story of corporate capture: a single law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, has a revolving door monopoly on the highest ranks of the Department of Justice that deserves far more scrutiny.

A tight network of former Kirkland lawyers – including Barr, his two highest-ranking deputies, and numerous other top officials – has achieved an extraordinary level of control at the DOJ.” 

A Nov 16th Story of Kirkland Attorney Representing PA Sec of State Abuses Trump Attorney Linda Kerns

Linda Kerns required protection from police and U.S Marshals and withdrew from Trump’s PA case immediately after filing court papers against Kirkland & Ellis. 

“One of President Trump’s Pennsylvania election lawyers says she got an ‘abusive voicemail’ from an attorney on the other side of the case — and she wants the judge to impose punishment over the expression of ‘ideological hatred.’

In federal court papers, Linda Kerns said a lawyer with the firm of Kirkland & Ellis, which is representing Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, left her a one-minute voicemail at 8:43 p.m. Saturday.

“It is sanctionable when that abuse and harassment comes from an elite law firm representing the Secretary of State. An appropriate sanction should issue — one which deters such misconduct in the future.”

In response, Kirkland & Ellis lawyer Daniel Donovan disagreed with Kerns’ ‘characterization of the voicemail’. 

And, rattled enough, she left the team: 

After she submitted the document seeking sanctions on Monday, Kerns submitted papers with the U.S. District Court stating that she wanted to withdraw from the effort the Trump campaign was making to challenge the results in Pennsylvania, ABC News reported.

In an unrelated note, Politico reported, “Some of the most prominent figures urging law firms to back out of Trump’s legal defense are associated with the Lincoln Project, a group of current and former Republican political consultants and activists who ran ads against Trump during the campaign and promised a similar media fusillade against the firms.”

A Week Later Kirkland Withdrawals from Representing State of PA

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