“They Are Almost All Legal Clients”: The Curious Defense of Squire Patton Boggs Over The Cohen Contract

Squire_Patton_Boggs_logoA new article out in Politico explores the disastrous decision of Squire Patton Boggs to bring in Michael Cohen in a blatant scheme to sell access to the President.  Edward Newberry, one of the top lobbyists for Squire Patton Boggs, is described as one of the critical players in taking on a lawyer who was already viewed as one of the sleaziest and unethical lawyers in the country. Indeed, the article describes how some members of the struggling firm noted that he could well end up as the next Jack Abramoff, who went to jail for a long pattern of grotesque corruption.  What was most interesting however about Theordoric Meyer’s piece however was the defense by the firm spokesperson, Angelo Kakolyris, in the article on the five clients that Cohen brought the firm under his bloated deal: “they are almost all legal clients.” “Almost all”?  In reality, Kakolyris was making a finer point, I assume, that the small number of clients were legal not lobbying matters.  However, it is an unfortunate choice of words for dealings with a man who seems to be spinning off criminal allegations the way hurricanes spin off tornados.


On its face, the contract with Squire Patton Boggs was an utter disgrace for the firm.  Cohen is known to have the legal skills of a wombat and the ethics of a parasitic tick.  Squire Patton Boggs however gave him a deal of a $500,000 retainer, plus commissions on any new clients.  It was the same motivation that led AT&T and other companies to give Cohen reportedly millions for access to Trump.  It was simple and utter greed.  The only good news that is Squire Patton Boggs got virtually nothing for the seedy deal except bad press and speculation on the ability of the firm to survive.

The struggling firm has done better under Trump, according to the article.  That type of success could bring added scrutiny given the seedy deal with Cohen.

However, it was the statement attributed to Kakolyris that was notable, though easily misunderstood.  For the uninitiated, it could be viewed as a prototypical Beltway notion “mostly legal” be viewed as a success.  Moreover, it also means that one or more of the clients were lobbying clients, so the point is a precious one at best.

The point is likely that the clients were not lobbying matters and thus not the result of access from Cohen.  That still does not help the firm since Cohen reportedly had few clients (maybe two at the time of New York evidentiary hearing on his search by the FBI).  He was not therefore a “rainmaker” of any kind.  He was a conduit to Trump and the firm ignored his reputation to try to secure that access.


50 thoughts on ““They Are Almost All Legal Clients”: The Curious Defense of Squire Patton Boggs Over The Cohen Contract”

  1. Trumpistas should read David Brooks op-ed in today’s TNYT.

    Be not faint of heart!

    1. NYT is behind a pay wall.

      Not a Trumpista. Merely looking to end the hypocracy.

      If you are going to call Cohen’s and Manafort’s conduct criminal – fine, then lets investigate and prosecute everyone who has done the same. We can clear out K street of both the red and the blue, and probably jail 2/3 of the top tier of government for a couple of decades.

      Actually connect Trump to influence peddling – and I will support impeaching him.

      But I am going to demand jail time for the Clinton’s and much of the Obama administration too.

      In fact I am far MORE interested in arresting and jailing those who have betrayed the public trust – those IN government – than the cohens, podesta’s manaforts etc on the outside.

      1. TNYT allows a small number of free articles per time period for non-subscribers.

        1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. You should not be worrying your pretty little head about free articles in the NYT. you should be worrying about getting my citation.

          BTW, the answer is 10 free articles a month

          1. Paul C. Schulte should be studying for the 5 courses he is taking. Then again, mayhap those are as trite as he is; tiresome im veritas.

            1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. David, I study my courses at my own pace which is the nice thing about being retired. And, if I have not made it clear before, you are not the boss of me. You have work to do before you can even think to give orders to anyone else. The library is open for limited hours Sunday at WSU. You have plenty of time to get there and get my citation. This will give you time to get psychologically prepared because I know going to the library can be scary for people like you.

              1. Nor are you my boss.

                But I see that those are not real courses…

                1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. What constitutes a real course?

        2. They do – very few.

          I actually have a subscription – but it is nearly useless as their login system is broken.
          And I continually have to “reconnect’ my account.

          Anyway, I do not want a long debate over NYT.

          They are sufficient trouble I would not bother with them, but my wife reads more articles than you can get free, is willing to pay for them, and put up with their problems.

          I am not.

          1. Complain to their complaint staff. I do and eventually the worst problems go away.

  2. Wow! Turley really does not like Cohen!

    I do not personally distinguish much between lobbying and lawyering.
    Both are attempts to persuade government to act in the best interests of your client.

    There is nothing wrong with advocacy – and even Turley should grasp that ethics is not who you represent but how you do your job.

    So long as government has power someone will be willing to pay to rent it.
    That is both unstoppable and not an ethical issue.

    We are wrong to slime lobbiests – which is not to elevate them either.

    The real criminals – the real swamp are those that sell the public power, not those who attempt to buy it.

    As Best as I can tell – Cohen’s access to Trump is limited and has not resulted in Trump doing anything for Cohen’s clients.

    In the event that proves untrue – THEN I am prepared to impeach Trump.

    We have watched the same game with the Clinton’s and apparently Obama too.
    Only there money’s to the Clinton’s or Clinton foundation resulted in clear benefits from Government.

    Regardless, if we are going to throw lobiests to the lions – then lets not be partisan about it.
    Manafort was paying Podesta to Lobby for the Ukraine – lets put Tony in the docks right next to Manafort and Cohen.

    We have had eight years where democrats got away with every sleazy thing they tried.

    I honestly do not care if you now suddenly hold those republicans in power to account for doing the same thing.

    But if we are going to suddenly “get religious” then “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

    Hold Cohen. Manafort and Flynn to whatever standard you want – but hold Obama, Clinton’s Podesta, Holder, Lynch McCabe, Comey, Mueller, Rosenstein, Yates, ….. all to the same standard too.

    We accomplish nothing – except amplifying the partisan divide if what increasingly appears to be one of the most corrupt administrations ever, is followed by the prior criminals prosecuting their successors for lessor crimes.

    The rule of law, not man, means everyone held to the same standard.

    Cohen has done nothing that the Clinton’s have not done on steriods.

    Jail Cohen if you must, but apply the same standards and prosecute those on the left in the same fashion.

  3. Jonathan Turley I have no brief for Cohen but your characterizations of him are exceedingly negatively strong, spitefully strong.

    Do you worry about defamation?

  4. “Cohen is known to have the legal skills of a wombat and the ethics of a parasitic tick.”

    Known to whom? The wombat community? The parasitic tick community? Who else could make an accurate comparison? Can wombats be barristers and solicitors? Or would that tick someone off?

    And most important of all, how do his legal skills and ethics compare to those of Hillary on the Professor’s scale of ethics and legal skills? Is she, say, a pig-footed bandicoot? A Dermacentor albipictus ?

    Please, Turley, let us know!

    1. I find it hard to believe that Turley posted this blog quoting the biased “Politico”. Could it be that Turley is off for Memorial Day and someone else is pinch-hitting for him? I also would like to know “how do his legal skills and ethics compare to those of Hillary”?

        1. The Rule of law not man, means the same laws applied the same way regardless of who they are being applied to.

          Anything less is lawless hypocracy.

          “what about Hillary” is merely an argument that those who were not prepared to hold Hillary accountable, but who want Trump from the same or lessor offenses are hypocrits.

          If you were calling for the prosecution of Clinton AND the prosecution of Trump for the same conduct – I applaud your intergrity – it is RARE.

          If not – then you are just one of millions of hypocrits targeting trump

          1. I call for neither prosecuting T rump nor Clinton unless a credible case can be made against either one.

            At this point in time I don’t see it happening.

            1. The evidence regarding mishandling classified information regarding Clinton is unequivocal.
              Contra Comey intent is not necessary, and was established via email.
              The only fundamental issue regarding Clinton is that non-military prosecuted under similar circumstances usually receive light sentences.

              The evidence regarding political corruption regarding Clinton is weaker. There is clearly a huge money trail leading to the Clinton’s and the Clinton foundation. There is substantial evidence that those contributing benefited gaining preferential treatment at the state department.

              But there is no explicit evidence of a clear quid pro quo.
              Post McDonald like Menendez, she would not likely be convicted.

              With respect to Trump – there is pretty much nothing.
              His lawyer appears to have profited from his relationship to Trump.
              While distatesful, that is not illegal.
              Thus far there is no evidence that anyone got unusual access, or any benefit through Cohen.

              With respect to other claims – Trump and family are engaged in numerous major refinances of large amounts of debt. This is not even slightly unusual for an organization this large.
              All of the debt is secured by assets worth far more than the debt.

              Someone is going to refinance those loans no matter what. That means there will always be the means to cast aspersions. Thus far there is no evidence of an unusual deal.

              Nor is there anything in Trump’s relationship to Russia that is no less consequential than Clinton’s relationship to Russia.

        2. It’s because Hillary never was held to ANY standards which is why that complain about Trump always complain about “whataboutism”. They have no answer as to why Clinton, Obama, Holder, Lynch, Kerry, et al never have had to answer for ANYTHING. THAT is why we ask “whatabout”? They all got away with a multitude of miscellaneous crimes, lying, possibly murder, and corruption.


    Squire Patton Boggs still employed some of Washington’s most prominent lobbyists when Trump was elected, including former Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.). John Boehner had joined the firm a year after stepping down as House speaker (although he isn’t registered to lobby); former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) joined the firm in 2015 after leaving Congress and carved out a niche as a pro-Trump pundit on cable news during the 2016 campaign.

    But the firm’s lobbying revenue in 2016 slipped to $19 million — less than half of what it brought in four years earlier. That made it fall from its position as the No. 1 firm on K Street, to become No. 6. The firm appeared eager to get back on top in the Trump era.

    “Trump has pledged to change things in Washington — about draining the swamp,” Lott told The New York Times after the election. “He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp — how do you get in and how you get out? We are prepared to help do that.”

    Squire Patton Boggs was far from the only lobbying shop that sought Trump bona fides after the election. Other Trump insiders have gone to work for big firms such as Mercury and Holland & Knight.

    Cohen never registered as a lobbyist, but he made millions consulting for companies looking for someone who could help explain the dynamics of the White House.

    Squire Patton Boggs has rebounded somewhat under Trump, bringing in more than $24 million last year. It’s not clear whether Cohen had anything to do with that success. The firm signed more than 30 new clients in the year between its announcement of the alliance with Cohen and the FBI raid last month, but eight of them reached by POLITICO said Cohen played no role in their decisions to hire Squire Patton Boggs.


    “Trump has pledged to change things in Washington — about draining the swamp,” Lott told The New York Times after the election. “He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp — how do you get in and how you get out? We are prepared to help do that.”

    Edited from: “Why A Storied Lobby Firm Gambled On Michael Cohen”

    POLITICO, 5/25/18

  6. People reading the almost-nonstop anti-Cohen trash that Turley has been cranking out should read the legal arguments of Manafort’s attorneys in their “Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Require a Hearing Regarding Improper Disclosures …” filed April 30, 2018, because they point out the serious interference with a Defendant’s right to due process of law which results from pretrial publicity.


    Certainly Turley is aware of these legal arguments and knows what he’s doing, or trying to do, aside from helping his slimeball buddy, Avenatti.

    As argued by Manafort’s lawyers, the pretrial publicity was used, in part, to create the circumstances for the appointment of a special counsel. That’s where the media and legal community merge and corrupt the entire justice system, just as Turley is apparently trying to do here.

    But what the heck, right Turley? — it’s only due process of law. No big deal if it gets trashed. As Linus meant to say: That’s what being a fake civil libertarian is all about, Charlie Brown.

    By the way:

    (1) Turley’s source, Politico, is hardcore pornography for political junkies.

    (2) “… a lawyer who was already viewed as one of the sleaziest and unethical lawyers in the country” — viewed by WHOM Turley doesn’t say. Is Turley talking about the sleazy and unethical community of lawyers, or is he talking about normal people with values?

    (3) There’s so much wrong with this piece that my only reaction is that I can’t really find any distinction between Cohen, the sleazy porn lawyer that Turley has buddied up with, and Turley himself — except that Cohen’s issues will be addressed in court, but there’s no certainty at this time that either Avenatti’s or Turley’s issues will likewise be dealt with in court. If so, I hope Turley gets the benefit of the same sort of pretrial publicity that he’s dumping on Cohen.

  7. Lobbyists are the shock troops of the oligarchs and special interests, the traitors to democracy and the United States. Somehow oligarchs, concentrated funding, and lobbyists have become synonymous with what it means to be American, for some, those that profit uniquely from this oligarchy we call home, that buys and sells our supposedly ‘freely’ elected representatives and judges, all the way to the Supreme Court.

    The lawyers are the lubricant that allows this perversion to live. Lawyers start off with the good intentions of the laws then, after mastering the legal rhetoric and having access to bottomless pits of contradiction and vagueness, become the perverts’ lubricant. Some don’t get vaseline; that’s always good to watch.

    So, Cohen is not so surprising after all. Trump, the bandmaster of the sleaziest of lawyers, is not so surprising after all. Trump has established himself as the client for lawyers who have lost most if not all of their ethics and self respect. One of the most accurate comments of this President is how many lawyers are quietly leaving the room when the call goes out. Only the very perverted and most stupid sign on, or those whose careers are over. The saving grace is anchored in the freedom of speech and of the press to print this circus. The sadness is that most Americans dismiss this perversity as the cost of freedom and/or enjoy the spectacle as the best entertainment available.

  8. who was already viewed as one of the sleaziest and unethical lawyers in the country.

    Your work as a press agent for Avenetti is getting truly annoying. It’s a reasonable wager few people in the profession outside of New York City had ever heard of this particular Michael Cohen before his office was raided, much less formed a strong opinion of him. In fact, you’ve got about 50,000 lawyers practicing in the 19 counties around New York. Dollars to doughnuts, 90%+ have never crossed paths with this particular Michael Cohen.

  9. In reality, Kakolyris was making a finer point, I assume, that the small number of clients were legal not lobbying matters. However, it is an unfortunate choice of words…

    Maybe he uses WordPress. Maybe Kakolyris is not some pedant with a log in his own eye. Self-reflection much JT?

    1. Turley, I think, goes to church on Christmas — maybe Easter, too — but appears to be unfamiliar with the parable of the mote and the beam.

      1. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

      2. Turley generally reserves this sort of slanted piece for his “other” religion: Climate Change.

            1. The option is there when you click on a reply, directly above the box you type your reply into, unless to click on your comment to reply in the full comment section. I’m typing this reply to you in the comment box after clicking on your reply, so I can also click on the like button immediately above this comment box, just as I’m doing in 3-2-1-NOW.

            2. I’m talking about the reply notifications you get — related to that bell-shaped icon in the upper right corner of the page which, when you click on it, gives you a list of replies you’ve received. I don’t actually know how to “like” comments, just replies.

  10. Squire Patton Boggs aka The Swamp.

    But they’re Republican Swamp Critters, so that makes all the difference!

    “Squire Patton Boggs is currently the third-largest lobbying firm in the U.S. after Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. The lobbying arm, long managed by Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr., is currently managed by former United States Senators John Breaux and Trent Lott.”

    Now they can boast they have sleaziest lawyer in New York!

  11. You know, JT, you are not required to help out your former student. He has his own problems, losing a $10m judgment the other day. Are you going to help him with that? Are you going to defend him on the bar complaints?

    1. Not to mention the divorce:


      Lawyer Michael Avenatti is too busy defending porn star Stormy Daniels to attend to important business involving his own wife – who desperately wants a divorce, she told Fox News.

      The ubiquitous attorney, who has become CNN’s favorite prime time guest, represents the porn queen, who claims she had a 2006 fling with President Trump and believes Trump is defaming her by denying it. But while he is basking in the limelight, his wife says their divorce proceedings have stalled.

      “I need to be divorced and if [Michael Avenatti] continues to paint the narrative, he can ignore our case!” Lisa Storie-Avenatti wrote in a text message from their home in Newport Beach, Calif. Storie did not explain what she meant by “the narrative” and how exactly Avenatti was ignoring the divorce.

      Storie married Avenatti in 2011. Just months before he started pursuing the legal challenge against Trump, he filed for divorce. Court records claim Storie kicked him out of the house and changed the locks. …

      1. William Bayer – did not know his wife was trying to divorce him, too. 😉 He’s got wife troubles, tax troubles, bar troubles, money troubles. Still, Jonathon Turley is on his side. 😉

        1. I suspect it’s a socially suboptimal divorce. Those two together were making two people miserable instead of four.

          1. Avenatti’s wife claims in divorce papers that she spends $12,000 a month ($144,000 per year!) on a nanny for one 7 year-old boy! Yeah, I can see why the IRS is suspicious, hahaha.

  12. Probably they meant that some clients engaged them for services that are not “legal” services – such as PR services.

  13. Amphibole strikes again. Legal clients are clients to be represented in legal matters. Case closed. Unless . . . Wait a second. “Almost all” of Cohen’s clients were clients the firm was representing on legal matters? Case not yet closed.

  14. lobbyist are the cancer in this country.is it true that the liberal lying politico is purging all conservative views on their blog?

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