Questions about the ethics of Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr awarding a six-month $3.3M contract to his old firm, Jones Day, have been raised in the Detroit City Council, and reported on by WXYZ and Detroit Free Press. In a national story, The Am Law Daily turns to Detroit's Ken Mogill and Wayne Law's Peter Henning for comment:
A trio of ethics experts contacted by The Am Law Daily Wednesday agreed that Orr's ties to Jones Day do not by themselves create a conflict of interest and that the city's decision to employ a firm that Orr is familiar with and knows to be experienced in restructuring work is a smart one.
"It's important to distinguish between the ethics and the politics," says Kenneth Mogill, a lawyer who teaches a professional responsibility course at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.
Henning tackled the question of Jones Day's conflicts representing creditors of the City of Detroit:
Wayne State Law professor Peter Henning said that in a firm the size of 2,400-lawyer Jones Day, conflicts are bound to arise, but that shouldn't necessarily disqualify them. "There are many varieties of conflicts, and some are less problematic," Henning wrote in an email. "So this is an issue the firm will have to deal with, and Mr. Orr will have to be very careful about dealing with conflicts because of his ties to his old firm."