1/17 The Corruption That Is Big Law w/ David Enrich

January 17, 2023

The MR Crew are back from the long weekend! Sam and Emma host David Enrich, business investigations editor at the New York Times, to discuss his recent book Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump, and the Corruption of Justice. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on the GOP and the debt ceiling, the death toll from Russia’s action in Dnipro, the arrest of a losing GOP candidate in New Mexico, and Israeli protests of Netanyahu’s abuse of the judicial branch, before parsing through why complete different actions by Biden and Trump (involving classified documents) have resulted in different responses from US political institutions. Then, David Enrich joins as he begins to walk through the story of the entrance of lawyers and law firms into the world of advertising in 1977, and how it created the world of financialized, amoral, corporate global law firms that we see today. Stepping back, Enrich then looks to the evolution of the Jones Day law firm as a model of the greater industry, first diving into their work in the 1940s representing a natural gas company in the wake of an explosion in Milwaukee and their emphasis on maintaining integrity and bolstering community trust, rather than fighting tooth and nail to against any reparation as a company would today, before contrasting this with their recent work intimidating and threatening local governments with lawsuits over attempts to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products. Next, David, Emma, and Sam walk through the main justifications for such horrific actions on behalf of corporate behemoths, as these firms hide behind the Constitution’s guarantee of representation for people accused of crimes and shirk claims of greed with pro-bono work, exploring the obvious immorality behind these lawyers’ amoral facade, before taking on two more examples of this growing trend of law firms falling in line with corporate greed, the Texas Two-Step, and Abbott Laboratories’ baby formula disaster. Wrapping up the interview, David walks through the reform he would most like to see, with an emphasis on the ABA, mainstream media’s coverage of law firms, and the exploitative cycle of legal education.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma discuss poverty as a policy choice, Tucker suggests more congresspeople smoke crack on the House floor, and Marc Silvestry of Revere City Council absolutely shuts down some bonkers anti-homeless arguments on the floor. They also cover Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ efficient first few works in office, Jeremy from LA discusses the coverage of psychedelics online, and Nathan from Alabama dives into the Warrior Met Coal strike and comparisons with Glacier North West’s teamsters’ action. Casey from Tennessee has an extended discussion on the South’s relationship to labor and culture wars, and walks through his own evolution from Trumper to Sederista, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out David’s book here: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/servants-of-the-damned-david-enrich?variant=40153396346914

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