US Election 2020: Americans choose between Trump and Biden

Americans are voting in one of the most divisive presidential polls in decades, Republican Donald Trump against Democrat Joe Biden.

Polls have opened in the east of the country after a long and bitter campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 100 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.

Both rivals spent the final hours of the race rallying in key swing states.

National polls give a firm lead to Mr Biden, but it is a closer race in the states that could decide the outcome.

To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college. Each US state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.

This system explains why it is possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally – as Hillary Clinton did in 2016 – but still lose the election.

Control of the Senate is also at stake in these elections, with the Democrats seeking to gain control of both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time since early in Barack Obama’s first term.

Trump transition leaves DC legal market “saturated”

The inauguration of president elect Donald Trump is a topic that reaches pretty much every aspect of life, something that is apparent in this comment from one Washington legal market specialist: “I was talking to my therapist last Friday and she told me that every one of her patients was obsessing with Trump. Nothing is in equilibrium. It’s like Brexit, you simply cannot think of anything else.”

President-elect Trump tasks Morgan Lewis with untangling his conflicts of interest

Morgan Lewis & Bockius has been instructed by US President-elect Donald Trump to untangle the conflicts of interest relating to his business interests and impending presidency.

In a press conference this afternoon (11 January), Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner Sheri Dillon, whose practice focuses on federal tax controversy, said that the firm had been instructed to “design a structure for his business empire that would completely isolate him from the management of the company”.

“President-elect Trump wants the American public to rest assured that all of his efforts are directed to pursuing the people’s business and not his own,” she said.

“Together [Trump’s sons] Eric and Alan have the authority to manage the Trump organisation and will make decisions for the duration of the presidency without any involvement whatsoever by President-elect Trump.”

Dillon claimed that Trump is “completely isolating himself from his business interests”.

She said: “He instructed us to take all steps realistically possible to make it clear that he is not exploiting the office of the presidency for his personal benefit.”

In the same press conference before handing over to Dillon, Trump said: “I could actually run my business and run government at the same time. I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to.”

Morgan Lewis partner Fred Fielding, who served as counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, was named as a critical part of this process.

A Morgan Lewis spokesperson said: “It’s firm policy to not comment on client matters.”

It is understood that Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner, who was named senior adviser to the president, instructed WilmerHale to advise on his own conflicts of interest.

Morgan Lewis partner Dillon contributed $1,500 to the Clinton campaign in 2007, according to political funding website OpenSecrets.

White & Case chairman calls on firm to “come together” after Trump victory

White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier has implored the firm’s staff and lawyers to “come together” after the election of Donald Trump as US president.

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In an all-staff email sent on Friday (11 November), Verrier said the firm must “look forward to moving past a long and bitterly fought campaign”.

He added: “I know the rhetoric of the campaign was divisive and alarming to many of you, and not just in the United States.

“With that in mind, I want to reiterate our commitment to globalism, multiculturalism and diversity.”

To illustrate his point, Verrier quoted the thoughts of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who was asked what one person can do to help the world.

“The basic thing we can do to help the world is to be healthy, solid, loving, and gentle to ourselves,” the passage read.

Verrier is the latest law firm leader to express his thoughts on Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.