Hours later, he is no longer at his law firm.
After the Supreme Court ruling, Clement’s law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, announced in a press release that it “will not represent clients in matters relating to interpretation of the Second Amendment.”
The news will come as a surprise to the isolated world of appellate litigation, where Clement is one of the best advocates for the nation’s Supreme Court, and Kirkland is a major law firm and a breeding ground for appellate attorneys.
In a statement, Clement and Murphy said they are starting a new company.
“In light of Kirkland & Ellis’ announcement that the Company will no longer deal with Second Amendment related issues, including ongoing representations of individual plaintiffs that we have maintained for years, we have decided to leave the company and create our own where we will continue to serve the full range of our diverse clients,” Murphy said. .
“We don’t take this step lightly,” Clement said. “Kirkland is a storied company, and we have many valued friends and colleagues there.” “Unfortunately, we were given a stark choice: either withdraw from the ongoing protests or withdraw from the company.”
He added, “We cannot give up on-going acknowledgments just because the customer’s position is unpopular in some circles.”
A source familiar with the matter said that many of the company’s partners have expressed dissatisfaction with the continued representation of Second Amendment-related cases after the Ovaldi, Texas school massacre. In the past few days, it had become clear that the outage was beyond repair and that Clement and Murphy would disregard loyalty to their customers.
“Many companies are abandoning customers or changing suppliers as convenience warrants. For others, the company’s decision will look like yet another example of responding to the demands of a wake,” they wrote. “But law firms are not supposed to operate like regular firms. Lawyers owe a duty of loyalty to their clients.”
Kirkland and Ellis described the lawyers as “distinguished colleagues.”
John A. said Pallis, chair of the Kirkland Executive Committee: “We wish them all the best for the future and look forward to future collaborations with them on non-Second Amendment matters.”
The petitioners in the case that were resolved Thursday were Robert Nash, Brandon Koch and the New York State Rifle and Handgun Association — a subsidiary of the NRA.
Nash and Koch passed required background checks and obtained licenses to carry weapons for hunting and target practice, but were unable to demonstrate a special need for self-defense which is required under New York state law for an unrestricted license.
Clement said in oral arguments last year that the law makes it nearly impossible for the average individual to obtain a license because the “appropriate cause” criterion is too demanding and is left to the “broad discretion” of the licensing officer.
“A good, even impeccable moral character, as well as a simple desire to exercise a fundamental right, is not sufficient,” Clement said. “He also does not live or work in a high-crime area.”
CNN’s Dan Berman contributed to this report.