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January 28, 2022

Cooley LLP Declines Elon Musk’s Demand to Terminate Ex-SEC Attorney

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Cooley LLP declined Tesla owner Elon Musk’s recent demand for the major law firm to terminate one of its associates, who is an ex-SEC attorney. As with all former government-employed attorneys, Model Rule 1.11: Special Conflicts of Interest for Former & Current Government Officers & Employees applies to the former SEC employee. In accordance with the Rule, the associate would not have performed any work for Musk because the associate had played a role in the 2018 SEC investigation of a tweet regarding Musk's plan to take Tesla private. Nevertheless, Musk offered Cooley an ultimatum: fire the attorney or lose his business. Cooley rejected Musk's demand, and Musk has begun to move business to other firms.