John M. Becker

Reuters: Legal Industry Has Reached 'Mozilla Moment'

Filed By John M. Becker | June 10, 2014 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, law firms, lawyers, legal industry, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Reuters, same-sex marriage, tipping point

scales_justice.jpgA fascinating analysis of legal filings by Reuters reveals that while at least 30 of the country's largest law firms have clients challenging discriminatory state marriage laws, not a single firm on the Am Law 200 (which ranks U.S. law firms by revenue) is defending such laws in court.

Reuters's Joan Biskupic writes that law firms across America are scrambling to get on the right side of history:

These numbers and interviews with lawyers on both sides suggest that the legal industry has reached its Mozilla moment. The software company's CEO, Brendan Eich, resigned in April after being denounced by gay marriage supporters for a donation he had made in support of California's since-overturned gay marriage ban. Now in a similar vein, attorneys at major law firms are getting the message that if they want to litigate against gay marriage they should do so elsewhere.

Earlier this year Gene Schaerr, a partner at Winston Strawn in Washington, D.C., quit the 850-lawyer firm so he could represent his home state, Utah, in its defense of a ban on same-sex marriage. Schaerr, a Mormon, told colleagues in an email that became public that he was following his "religious and family duty." Schaerr declined to comment, as did a Winston Strawn spokeswoman...

Some law firms... say their [pro-equality] efforts can be good for business, particularly when it comes to relations with corporate clients that have internal policies supporting gay rights, and in efforts to recruit young lawyers.

It's nice to watch these various sectors of society evolve towards a more complete embrace of equality, isn't it? Click here for the full Reuters report.

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