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04 April 2017

Morgan Lewis client departs over links to President Trump

Morgan Lewis & Bockius' decision to represent controversial US President Donald Trump has prompted one investment client to show the firm the door.

By Kathryn Higgins

President Trump: Controversy over law firm Paul Hakimata

Wallace Global Fund has severed ties with Morgan Lewis, claiming the firm  legitimised what it alleges were empty efforts on the part of the President to separate his office from his private business interests. In particular, an explosive letter penend by Wallace co-chair Scott Wallace to the firm cites a January 11 press conference given by President Trump alongside Morgan Lewis partner Sheri Dillon which, Mr Wallace claims, offered 'a complete non-solution to Trump's manifold conflicts of interest.' Fund manager Wallace Global Fund identifies itself as one of a growing number of organisations in the so-called 'asset activism' movement and counts countering corporate lobbyists and loosening the stranglehold of corporate interests on democracy among its priorities. The fund's hardline stance on the President's conflicts of interest is, therefore, unsurprising.  

Protecting democracy from corporate interests 

Mr Wallace's letter lists what it claims are 'ethical eyebrow-raisers'  since Trump's ascension to the Oval Office, including: China's decision to award 40 new trademarks for the Trump name soon after the President announced his intention to honour the One China policy; the President's decision to spare Muslim-majority countries with which he does business from his controversial travel ban; and that membership fees for Trump's elite Mar-a-Lago golf club and estate in Palm Beach have doubled from $100,000 to $200,000 since he took office.  Sources: Wall Street Journal; New York Daily News; Think Progress 

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