Weil Gotshal & Manges has dumped client New York City just months before its high-profile trial against more than 40 gun-makers and distributors after citing potential client conflicts.
The firm, which accepted the case two years ago on a pro bono basis, pulled out of representing the city in March. Richard Davis, the Weil Gotshal partner leading the case, told The Lawyer: “After analysis we determined that positions we would be taking in the gun case would materially prejudice a long-term existing client in litigation they were involved in, and it would be appropriate for us to withdraw.
“We didn’t just drop them like a hot potato. We’re continuing to help them on a transitional basis.”
Trial heavyweights Davis and Steven Reiss were leading the case for the plaintiff, which is seeking an injunction stopping the gun industry from sales and distribution practices that it claims amounts to public nuisance.
Michael Cardozo, Corporation Counsel of the New York City Law Department, said in a statement: “We regret that Weil Gotshal needed to withdraw as co-counsel on this case, but it’s not at all uncommon for large, global firms to have client conflicts. We will continue prosecuting this case vigorously, either with another public service firm or through our own resources.”
A New York City spokesperson said the city had been inundated with offers of pro bono legal advice on the gun industry dispute, but a course of action had yet to be decided on.