Bloomberg Law
Oct. 11, 2022, 9:00 AM

Paul Clement’s New Firm Keeps Connection to Old Kirkland Cases

Roy Strom
Roy Strom

Heavyweight litigator Paul Clement is maintaining ties to clients from his old law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, even after his public exit over the firm’s stance against gun-rights cases.

Clement’s new firm—Clement & Murphy—last week filed an appearance on behalf of Tyson Foods Inc. He previously represented the global food processor while a partner at Kirkland, which Clement left this year when the firm decided to no longer represent gun rights advocates.

The former solicitor general, known for taking on high-profile appellate and Supreme Court cases, is defending Tyson in a lawsuit brought by the estates of workers who contracted Covid and died. It marks at least the second time Clement has kept working on a case with ties to his former firm.

Clement & Murphy also continues to represent 3M Company in appeals related to a massive products liability class action over earplugs that the manufacturer’s subsidiary sold to the US military. Kirkland is representing 3M as it tries to resolve those cases in a bankruptcy proceeding rather than a Florida-based multi-district litigation. Clement filed an appearance last month in a new appeal related to that case.

Together, the representations indicate Clement maintains some connections with Kirkland or its clients, even after his high-profile exit from the firm in June. Clement and Erin Murphy—who also left Kirkland to launch the new firm—slammed Kirkland’s decision to drop gun cases in a June Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “The Law Firm That Got Tired of Winning.”

The pair said at the time that their decision to leave Kirkland was about standing up for their belief that lawyers shouldn’t abandon unpopular clients.

“We couldn’t abandon our clients simply because their positions are unpopular in some circles,” Clement and Murphy wrote. “Some may find this notion strange or quaint. Many businesses drop clients or change suppliers as convenience dictates. To others, the firm’s decision will seem like one more instance of acceding to the demands of the woke.”

Kirkland Chairman Jon Ballis at the time said the firm would collaborate with Clement and his colleagues on “matters not involving the Second Amendment.”

Clement did not respond to requests for comment. A Kirkland spokesperson declined to comment.

Tyson and 3M

Tyson Foods has faced a slew of virus-related personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits related to its operations of factories throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Clement has led the company’s appeals of various court rulings, usually arguing that food processing plants stayed open due to a Trump administration executive order.

Clement has lost appeals based on that argument in the Fifth Circuit and Eighth Circuit appeals courts.

Last week, he signed on to an appeal in a similar lawsuit filed in June last year by the estates of two former Tyson workers. The appeal, like others he’s argued, is over whether the case should be heard in Iowa state court or federal court.

Meanwhile, Clement continues to represent 3M in appeals related to the allegedly defective military earplugs. The lawsuit has ballooned into the largest mass tort case in US history, with more than 300,000 claims filed alleging the earplugs led to hearing loss.

He’s represented 3M in appeals related to those claims since at least last year. Last month, Clement filed an appeal arguing against an order from the Florida federal judge overseeing the multi-district litigation, which a plaintiff in a Minnesota state case said barred the company from “relitigating” certain issues.

Clement’s firm this summer also signed onto a gun rights appeal in New York, attempting to overturn a judge’s decision to toss a challenge to a New York law passed last year that allows private lawsuits to be brought against gun manufacturers and sellers.

Clement & Murphy lists 11 lawyers on its website, virtually all of whom came from Kirkland, including partners Bartow Farr, Andrew Lawrence and Matthew Rowen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at; John Hughes at

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