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Press Release | February 22, 2021

Garland Must Lock BigLaw Out Of DOJ Leadership To Enact Biden Agenda, 37 Groups Say

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Garland Must Lock BigLaw Out Of DOJ Leadership To Enact Biden Agenda, 37 Groups Say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 22, 2021

Contact: Max Moran, moran@therevolvingdoorproject.org

A coalition of 37 racial, worker, environmental, and social justice organizations demanded that President Biden’s attorney general nominee Merrick Garland keep BigLaw attorneys out of the leadership of his Department of Justice, especially those who generally represent large corporations or alleged white-collar criminals.

In a letter to Garland the day of his first confirmation hearing, the organizations wrote “Filling the Department with corporate lawyers who profited defending powerful industries puts the fox in charge of the hen house — or at least the counsel who won the fox’s business over dozens of other attorneys.” Read the letter here.

“Alternative career paths which take attorneys outside of the fancified halls of corporate law firms better prepare them for the actual work of representing the federal government, and are statistically more likely to bring sorely-needed diversity to the Department’s halls. A Department which looks like America, including coming from life experiences similar to those of most Americans, is more likely to earn the trust of America,” the organizations wrote.

“If you’re a multimillionaire because you help corporations and corporate executives evade or violate the law, you should not be in charge of enforcing the law,” said Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser. “Lawyers at BigLaw firms, especially those with ‘government affairs’ practices, spend all day working to weaken and hamstring enforcement of white-collar criminal law, environmental law, antitrust law, and anything else which gets in the way of the biggest businesses’ bottom lines. These lawyers use tours through the Justice Department to refresh their insider knowledge, then take those insights back to corporate clients who want to dodge basic democratic accountability. It was an unacceptable practice when perpetrated under Trump, and it should have no place in the Biden administration.”

“Solving the intertwining crises of our time requires a clean break from the decades of thinking that got us to this point — and will surely not be achieved by elevating lawyers who’ve spent careers advocating for corporate concentration, defending white collar criminals, undermining workers rights, or otherwise fighting against rules meant to protect everyday Americans,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal.

“Appointees should have a clear track record of challenging corporate titans and monopolies — not working for them,” said American Economic Liberties Project Executive Director Sarah Miller. “The rule of law is in crisis in this country, with big corporations and CEOs demonstrating time and again that they believe they are above the law to the detriment of equity and justice, while public officials too often reinforce that belief by looking the other way or responding to wrongdoing with meaningless slaps on the wrist. This culture must change, and the best way to change it is to staff the Department of Justice with a diverse team of public servants who have a demonstrated commitment to fighting for economic, racial, and environmental justice.”

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