The chairs of about two-thirds of the Am Law 100 recently signed a statement denouncing voting laws that place restrictions on the right to vote. Nineteen current and former general counsel signed as well. They condemn laws that “disenfranchise underrepresented groups.”
Law.com reported that leaders of 62 Am Law 100 firms and 19 general counsel have signed on to a statement that “denounces all efforts” to restrict U. S. citizens’ constitutional right to vote.
About Am Law 100 Surveys
The Am Law 100 surveys rank law firms in the U.S. Ranking factors include:
revenue per lawyer;
profits per lawyer;
value per lawyer;
profits per equity partner; and
Annual rankings of the country’s 100 largest law firms rest on the survey.
Take a Stand Against Restrictive State Voting Laws
Asking attorneys “take a stand” against state laws that make it harder for citizens to vote, Brad Karp, chair of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and chair of the Legal Action Center, encouraged executives of the Am Law 100 to sign a statement denouncing voter disenfranchisement.
The statement reads:
Equal access to voting is a fundamental right in the United States. Making voting easier, not harder, for all eligible voters should be the goal of every elected official. Election laws that impose unnecessary obstacles and barriers on the right to vote and that disenfranchise underrepresented groups represent a significant step backwards for all Americans. Now, more than ever, courageous leadership is required from our elected officials. We, the undersigned law firm managing partners and corporate general counsel, denounce all efforts to restrict the constitutional right of every eligible American to vote and to participate in our democracy.
Statement Targets New Georgia Voting Law
The statement follows a recently enacted law in Georgia, the voter rights activists say will make voting more difficult in that state. Other state legislatures are looking at similar “voting integrity” measures that would make voting more difficult. Proponents of Georgia Senate Bill 202 have said that the changes will restore voters’ confidence in the election process and make elections more secure. However, civil-rights advocates say the restrictions are designed at voter suppression, especially targeting Black voters.
Major League Baseball Moves All-Star Game
At the same time, Major League Baseball announced the move of its July All-Star game. Major League moved the game from Georgia to Denver in response to the new voting law.
The Texas legislature is also considering restrictive voting laws. Numerous companies in Georgia, Texas, and elsewhere have criticized the efforts to make it tougher for people to vote.
Organizing the Bar Just First Step
Karp of Paul, Weiss responded to questions about his attempt to organize Big Law against voter suppression measures. He wrote in an email that it is:
crucially important” for the private bar to send a powerful message to government leaders that it is “unacceptable to make voting harder, not easier, for all eligible voters, and to emphatically denounce efforts to impose unnecessary obstacles and barriers on the right to vote that disenfranchise underrepresented groups.
Karp also noted that organizing the bar is just the first step:
As we did in connection with challenging our nation’s gun violence epidemic and the Trump Administration’s barbaric family separation immigration policies, we are forming a coalition of leading law firms and public interest organizations to challenge state voter suppression legislation and to support national legislation to protect voting rights and increase voter participation.
AIG’s General Counsel Gets Current and Former General Counsel Involved
The general counsel of AIG, Lucy Fato, gathered support from current or former general counsel at 18 other companies.
Fato explained that she got involved in the cause because voting is a fundamental right, and it’s important for attorneys to speak up.
“It is simply the right thing to do. I don’t view it as a political issue. I view it as an American issue,” she said.
Fato said that AIG president and CEO, Peter Zaffino, has also issued a statement opposing efforts to disenfranchise voters. He also participated in an online meeting of corporate leaders last week to discuss ways to oppose voter suppression measures. Attendees of the call included representatives of many large companies. The included Delta, American, United, Starbucks, Target, LinkedIn, Levi Strauss, and Boston Consulting Group, along with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.