Cooley landed in Musk’s crosshairs for refusing his directive to fire a company associate. He targeted Perkins Coie over the company’s work for the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In a May 20 tweet, Musk referred to the firms as “white shoe lawyers” who “thrive on corruption.” Twitter did not respond to a request for comment, and Cooley and Perkins Coie declined to comment.
Musk is unlikely to continue the relationship with the two firms given his penchant for abandoning lawyers, even though lawyers for Cooley and Perkins Coie are ‘thick-skinned’ and ‘perhaps willing to let go of the past. pass,” said Eric Talley, a business law professor at Columbia University.
Musk took over Twitter on Thursday, ending a more than six-month saga, and soon began removing executives. He kicked out Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy and fiduciary, and Sean Edgett, the general counsel, as well as Parag Agrawal, the chief executive, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“It’s not very surprising that he decided to make quick and big changes,” Talley said. “He’s spent the last six months bashing the incumbents, which makes it difficult to then try to turn around and work with them.”
Cooley has worked for Twitter since at least 2016, when he was hired to defend the company in a lawsuit over its initial public offering. Lawyers at the firm advised the company last year on a nearly $810 million settlement in an investor class action lawsuit.
The attorney Cooley whom Musk wanted the firm to fire had participated in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Tesla Inc., of which Musk is also CEO, before joining the law firm. The investigation ended with Tesla agreeing to pay a $40 million settlement.
When Cooley refused to fire the attorney, Tesla and SpaceX, led by Musk, reportedly stopped sending work to the company.
Perkins Coie litigants are representing Twitter in federal court shortly after the company was founded in 2006. In July, Perkins Coie advised Twitter in a failed California patent lawsuit.
Former Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann has been accused of lying to the FBI for not disclosing he worked for the Clinton campaign when he provided federal agents with evidence of a supposed connection between the Republican candidate at the time, Donald Trump, and a Russian bank.
Sussmann was found not guilty after a trial in May, but Musk called the Russian link information a “prank” perpetrated by the Clinton campaign and its lawyer.
Musk frequently goes through outside firms and in-house lawyers at Tesla, which has had at least four legal chiefs since December 2019.
His Tweet slamming Cooley and Perkins Coie came in a thread in which he announced that Tesla would be bringing more courtroom work in-house with a “hardcore litigation department” reporting directly to him. Tesla hired New York attorney Adam Mehes for the group in August.
Heavyweight litigation firm Quinn Emanuel has become Musk’s favorite for outside legal advisers.
The firm is representing Musk in a lawsuit against the SEC to get him out of his agreement to have a Tesla attorney screen all of his company-related tweets. Quinn Emanuel is also defending Musk in a class action lawsuit over a 2018 tweet in which he claimed he secured funding to take Tesla private.
Quinn’s lawyers also represented Musk in the recent legal battle with Twitter, which began when Musk said he was pulling out of the deal to buy the company and ended with the company finalizing. purchase. Elite Wall Street law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz represented Twitter.
—With help from Brian Baxter, Justin Wise, Ed Ludlow and Maxwell Adler