Pentagon official says sorry to A&O, CC

Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance were no doubt relieved by an apology from Pentagon official Charles Stimson on Wednesday last week (17 January) after he suggested that corporate clients should boycott them.

Interviewed on Washington DC-based Federal News Radio on 11 January, the deputy assistant secretary of defence for detainee affairs, himself a lawyer, said it was “shocking” that firms have represented inmates of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp – as both City firms have – and that when “corporate CEOs [chief executive officers] see that… firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms”.

The comments caused uproar across the US legal world and were duly rejected by Stimson’s Pentagon bosses shortly after, but will have caused a tense few days for two firms seeking to build strength in the land of the free.