A discussion within the right: Why is there not a larger conservative plaintiffs' bar?

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For decades, the plaintiffs' bar has been populated by liberal lawyers who support left-wing elected officials and liberal causes, while conservative lawyers have largely joined the ranks of defense-side firms. In recent years, large public companies have become increasingly associated with political liberalism, and promoted contentious social issues that many conservatives reject – with biglaw defending them throughout.

Given this shift in corporate behavior and business culture, it is reasonable to ask--why haven't more conservatives joined the plaintiffs’ bar that seeks to hold large companies accountable? Is our culture shifting in a fundamental way that will realign the legal profession? Or will the tension between supporting big business and believing in conservative views soon pass?

Join us for a discussion that reflects the diversity of perspectives within the right on these questions.


  • James M. Burnham, President, Vallecito Capital, LLC
  • Ashley Keller, Partner, Keller Postman
  • Mark Behrens, Co-Chair, Public Policy Group at Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. 
  • Brandon Smith, Chief of Staff, Office of the Tennessee Attorney General
  • Moderator: Andrew Ferguson, Solicitor General of Virginia


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.