Lovells has dropped out of a case in the US Supreme Court against the might of George Bush’s legal team because of a disagreement with leading English QCs over how their arguments – concerning the US President’s treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees – should be presented.
One senior source said Lovells’ New York office ceased acting in the landmark action because it wanted its case to be presented in a less anti-American stance than had been proposed by the UK barristers.
“Lovells wanted a more American, more patriotic view of the detainees,” the source said. “Its office in New York wanted to put its own imprint on its side’s own submissions. As it was, it was going under the barristers’ names.”
The counsel included the legendary Sir Sydney Kentridge QC of Brick Court and Colin Nicholls QC of 3 Raymond Buildings.
Lovells was replaced by ex-White House lawyer Stephen Pollak, a partner at Washington DC firm Shea & Gardner.
Lovells partner Graham Huntley said: “Our US lawyers were not comfortable with the format [in terms of paragraph layout] of the barristers’ submissions. Our people thought the format was unusual. There are very particular ways things are presented to the US Supreme Court.
“However, we didn’t change it because the English counsel did not wish to do so.”
He added: “Because there was only around three days before the filing deadline, the preference was not to spend time discussing formatting issues, but to resolve it in a swift way by finding new US lawyers who could file it just as they got it.”