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Former Attorney General Lynch Defends Work for NFL in Bias Case

March 1, 2022, 6:39 PM

Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, hired to defend the NFL in a discrimination suit by ex-Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, said the league is committed to addressing the “serious concerns” the case raises.

The news of Lynch’s hiring last month sparked public criticism of her, the country’s first Black woman attorney general, and her law firm.

“Whenever these issues come to the forefront and are outlined in ways as Coach Flores has, there is concern as to whether the issues will be addressed fully and fairly and openly,” Lynch said Tuesday at a news conference in her law firm’s Manhattan office. “And that’s what I think people are expressing.”

The NFL last month hired Lynch—a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison—and firm chairman Brad Karp to help defend the lawsuit filed by Flores, who is Black and Hispanic.

Flores alleges that he was fired by the Dolphins and passed over for other head coaching jobs because of his race. The Pittsburgh Steelers last month hired him as a senior defensive assistant.

“The NFL case and the cultural issues in this country raise serious concerns,” Lynch said. “As the league has said, they are committed to addressing them.”

Flores is represented by a legal team that features prominent New York trial lawyer Doug Wigdor. He is also suing the Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.

Paul Weiss held Tuesday’s news conference to discuss the firm’s work on behalf of the family of GuiYing Ma, a 62-year-old New York City resident who was brutally beaten to death with a rock.

Lawyers for the family, and Rep Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), said the tragedy reflects an alarming spike in violence against Asian Americans across the country.

Karp said the firm’s work on the case reflects its long-held commitment to social justice.

He pointed out that Paul Weiss lawyers led a lawsuit against the organizers of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., which left at least one person dead and several injured. A jury last year returned a $25 million verdict for a group of those injured.

The firm’s commitment to fighting “the profound racism and xenophobia that plagues our society” dates back to at least the 1930s, Karp said. That was when Paul Weiss attorneys worked to overturn the wrongful conviction of “the Scottsboro boys,” a group of Black teenagers falsely accused of raping a White woman in Alabama.

—With assistance from Brian Baxter

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com