Behind the Scenes of King & Spalding’s Decision

Talking Points Memo has the scoop. From the story:

The LGBT community in Atlanta has significant political influence, and [upon agreeing to defend DOMA,] the firm quickly became a target for major gay rights organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and the group Georgia Equality — the largest gay rights advocate in the state. The groups planned an aggressive ad campaign, direct communication with the firm’s clients, and a diminution of its Corporate Equality Index ranking — the metric HRC uses to track corporate support for gay rights.

They had also scheduled a large public event for Tuesday, April 26, but quickly canceled it after King & Spalding announced Monday that it had withdrawn from the case. . .

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for HRC, explained his group’s strategy in a phone interview with TPM. “Law firms are probably most attentive to two issues: Their clients and potential new recruits. When you start messing with either of those from a reputational perspective, that’s when they stand up and take notice when there’s a problem,” Sainz said. “We were launching a very targeted campaign at both of those.”

According to Sainz, HRC “had already started contacting their clients. … [King & Spalding was] starting to hear from companies that this was causing those companies a great deal of consternation, and they might have to rethink their relationships [with the firm].”

The story concludes:

Clement will now take up the case as a partner for Bancroft, LLP — “a boutique firm made up of former Bush administration lawyers,” as one LGBT advocate familiar with the pressure put on King & Spalding described it. It will thus be largely immune from public blowback. The switch is in and of itself a victory for DOMA foes, according to Jon Davidson, legal director for the gay rights group Lambda Legal. “It’s a small firm,” he said. “It looks from their website that [Clement] will be the seventh partner with two associates? They’re going to have their hands full.”

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