Corporate law’s partisan gulf widened in 2020, analysis finds
(Reuters) – Lawyers and staff at major law firms donated nearly six times more to Democrat Joe Biden than to incumbent Republican president Donald Trump in the 2020 election, according to a new analysis of campaign contributions by University of Iowa law professor Derek Muller.
Only three of the 100 highest-grossing U.S. law firms sent more money to Trump’s campaign and related political action committees through individual contributions than to Biden’s, Muller found in a study released Monday. That’s a greater imbalance than in the last presidential match-up he analyzed eight years ago, Muller said.
Muller, an election law specialist, identified about $64 million in donations to Democratic-affiliated groups between 2017 to 2020, compared to about $11 million to Republican-affiliated groups. Those findings echo an October 2020 Reuters analysis that found individual lawyers at firms had given nearly $29 million directly to Biden’s campaign and less than $2 million to Trump in the previous year.
In an earlier analysis of the 2012 election that used a different methodology, Muller found that attorneys funded Barack Obama’s campaign over Mitt Romney’s by a substantial margin. But that political party divide was narrower than in 2020, the numbers show.
Muller’s data does not include campaign donations made directly by law firms or their political action committees, which also skewed toward Biden.
“For the most part, I think, lawyers were much more comfortable giving to Mitt Romney than Donald Trump,” Muller said Tuesday.
Representatives for Biden and Trump did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. Trump campaign spokeswoman Samantha Zager said in 2020 that it wasn’t surprising that “rich, liberal lawyers in Biden’s pocket” were trying to make up for his “lackluster” candidacy.
The three top law firms from which lawyers and staff sent more money to Trump than Biden were McGuireWoods, Proskauer Rose and White & Case, Muller found. But that doesn’t necessarily represent the law firms’ politics, he noted. A single $500,000 gift to the Trump Victory Fund by a White & Case lawyer accounted for more than half of the firm’s Republican giving over four years.
A White & Case spokesperson declined to comment Tuesday, and representatives from Proskauer and McGuireWoods did not respond to comment requests.
Muller also analyzed political contributions from lawyers and staff at 40 major plaintiffs’ firms and found that only two gave more money to Trump than Biden from 2017 to 2020 — The Lanier Law Firm, and Kasowitz Benson Torres, which represented Trump’s campaign.