Five large law firms are passing on the opportunity to represent the President after a shakeup last week on his private defense team and as he anticipates giving possible testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Well-known Washington lawyers cited several reasons for declining the President in recent weeks, according to multiple sources familiar with their decisions. Among them, Trump appears to be a difficult client and has rebuked some of his lawyers’ advice. He’s perceived as so politically unpopular he may damage reputations rather than boost them. Lawyers at large firms fear backlash from their corporate clients if they were to represent the President. And many want to steer clear of conflicts of interest that could complicate their other obligations.
“With a figure who is as polarizing as the President, it makes the decision about whether to represent him a more difficult one,” said Philip West, chairman of large Washington law firm Steptoe & Johnson. The firm was among several to decline to represent Trump last year. “Any large law firm has clients that have very strong feelings.”