It’s all very amorphous. There is no organized and clandestine network of legal interests as there was of industrial interests when the military-industrial complex was building its grip on defense policy. Instead there is such a sprawling professional fraternity of specializations, spanning civil and criminal law, that it has no monolithic identity that can be easily labeled.

The so-called white shoe law firms, those whose reputation rests not simply on their own integrity but on the integrity of their clients, have always been leery of overt political involvement. They are more comfortable working with powerful corporate clients who are as publicity-averse as they are.

Long before Trump became president he was far too flashy for them and now he is even more toxic. They watch, aghast, as the president calls in legal teams and then spits them out as summarily as he does anyone who fails to humor him or, even worse, warns him about ending up in an orange jump suit.