Atlanta’s King & Spalding under fire by HRC

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imageLet the hand-wringing continue at Atlanta-based King & Spalding: One of their partners, Paul Clement, could mean the law firm’s top ranking on gay issues gets yanked.

That’s the threat from the Human Rights Campaign, which is taking a tough stand against the law firm since Clement (photo), a partner in its Washington, D.C. office, became the new face of the U.S. House GOP campaign against gay marriage.

Meanwhile, Clement isn’t wasting any time since signing up for the $520-per-hour, $500,000 gig on April 14. Four days later, he and two other attorneys signed a brief for a New York federal court in one of the lawsuits challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

Clement is the new hired gun for House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican colleagues, upset that President Obama put a stop earlier this year to his administration’s defense of the gay marriage ban that’s been in place since 1996. Our report on Tuesday detailed the alliance between the House GOP and Clement, who served under President George W. Bush. It also included an endorsement of the arrangement from Brian Brown, the gay marriage bigot who heads the National Organization for Marriage. That’s the group that was outnumbered by LGBT activists when it brought its bus tour to Atlanta last summer.

But since that post, HRC has cranked up its criticism of King & Spalding, according to Keen News Service. The group has given the law firm a 95 out of 100 in its last four Corporate Equality Index rankings, among the highest scores of Atlanta-based companies. Now, HRC says it’s reevaluating the 2011 score in light of Clement’s new role.

“If you take on a case that is hostile to LGBT people, that is an immediate grounds for points to be deducted from your score,” HRC spokesperson Fred Sainz tells KNS. “And this particular case [defense of DOMA] is off the charts in terms of its impact on LGBT families.”

King & Spalding highlights its LGBT record on its website and includes the names of two employees in its Atlanta office that are members of the gay Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia – partner Sam Griffin and associate Brian Basinger, who is Stonewall’s president.

An online petition from asking supporters to tell King & Spalding “Don’t defend bigotry against LGBT people” has reached nearly 600 signatures, up from less than 300 a day earlier.


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