American Lawyer, For Many Big Law Trump Donors, 'Stigma' Kept Support Below the Radar:
It was no secret during the presidential race that Donald Trump trailed Hillary Clinton in financial donations from the legal industry. Lawyers and firms gave Clinton and affiliated groups more than $39.3 million, while they gave Trump and his groups $1.4 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
But many partners at the nation's largest law firms did back the president-elect—even if they opted to keep their support unusually private.
Some Trump donors at large or prominent law firms, especially in New York, said they made a point not to advertise their political preferences this election. Those who did speak up about their support said they thought others were too intimidated to join them.
Many who donated to Trump said they didn't talk about their support because they felt it would turn off Democratic clients or colleagues, or they didn't want to be seen as culturally insensitive.
"I believe in the concept of the shy Trump supporter," said Samuel Waxman, an M&A partner in New York at Paul Hastings and a Trump supporter himself. "The socially acceptable answer is to say you were a Clinton supporter."
In some ways that reluctance is unsurprising. Big Law tends to lean Democratic, and the elite professionals that make up major law firm partnerships are at odds with the stereotypical Trump voter, many of whom lack advanced degrees or live in rural communities.
But a search through campaign finance records reveals a segment of the industry that contributed significantly to Trump. Some of these lawyers practice at some of the country's largest firms, such as Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Sidley Austin and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, according to campaign finance records.