In 1992, a 44-year-old attorney made the following remarkable assertion: “For goodness’ sake, you can’t be a lawyer if you don’t represent banks.”
The attorney was Hillary Clinton. She made the statement to journalists during her husband’s first campaign for president. Her legal representation of a shady savings and loan bank while working at a top corporate law firm in Arkansas (and her firm’s relations with then-Gov. Bill Clinton) had erupted briefly into a campaign controversy.
Mainstream pundits rarely mentioned Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary statement about lawyers and banks. Instead, they obsessed over and immortalized a remark she made minutes later — her feminist appeal: “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was pursue my profession.”
Members of elite media didn’t make an issue of Clinton’s bank comment probably because it set off no alarm bells. It sounded right to them, non-controversial, almost a truism.
Having been an attorney briefly myself, my reaction upon hearing her comment was: “I know nearly a hundred lawyers, but not one represents a bank.” My lawyer friends worked for unions, tenants, immigrants, indigent criminal defendants, civil liberties, civil rights, battered women, prisoners on death row, etc. (Which explains why I wasn’t a great fit in corporate media.)