Snell & Wilmer Out In Ariz. As Trump Election Suits Draw Ire

Law360 (November 12, 2020, 4:28 PM EST) -- Snell & Wilmer LLP has withdrawn as counsel for the Republican National Committee in an Arizona lawsuit claiming presidential election poll workers in Maricopa County gave voters incorrect instructions that invalidated their votes, a move that came to light as large law firms have come under fire for work in election-related lawsuits.

In a Sunday filing, Snell & Wilmer partners Brett Johnson and Eric Spencer announced the withdrawal and clarified that the firm appeared only on behalf of the RNC, which is listed as a plaintiff in the suit alongside President Donald Trump's reelection campaign.

No reason was provided for the withdrawal and in response to a request for more information on Thursday, a spokesman emailed a statement from firm chair Matt Feeney saying, "Per firm policy, we do not comment on the firm's representation of past or current clients."

Multiple groups have targeted large law firms with negative publicity in the last week or so in relation to their work representing the Trump campaign in litigation questioning the validity of the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The Lincoln Project, a well-known anti-Trump, Republican political action committee, launched social media campaigns starting Tuesday targeting the lawyers at Jones Day and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, condemning them for their roles in abetting Trump's legal battles to challenge the results of the 2020 election.

The posts accuse the two firms of "architecting" the president's "unwarranted and dangerous attacks" that threaten American democracy and encourage the firm's employees to "resign in protest."

In a statement released Tuesday, Jones Day said it was not representing Trump, his campaign or any affiliated party in litigation alleging voter fraud and clarified that it is representing the Pennsylvania GOP in a case over Pennsylvania's extended mail-in ballot deadline.

On Thursday, a law student group, People's Parity Project, announced it is asking law students everywhere to not interview or work for the primary law firms serving as counsel for the Trump campaign and the RNC in much of the litigation related to the election this past week.

The group identified four law firms specifically — Jones Day, Porter Wright, King & Spalding and Consovoy McCarthy.

"[The law firms] are not just complicit — they are enabling despotic attempts to threaten our election integrity and the future of our nation. This is unethical, plain and simple," the group's public call to action said.

It is unclear that such public criticism is behind Snell & Wilmer's decision to withdraw from the case in Arizona.

The case, filed in Arizona state court hours after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday, claims in-person votes were wrongly not counted in Maricopa County due to erroneous directions about how to work the county's tabulation machines.

The lawsuit requests that the court require election officials to manually inspect all of the ballots at issue.

The case is Donald J. Trump for President Inc. et al. v. Hobbs et al., case number CV2020-014248, in the Superior Court for the State of Arizona in and for the County of Maricopa.

--Additional reporting by Xiumei Dong, Chris Villani and Suzanne Monyak. Editing by Janice Carter Brown.

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