Edwards teaming up again with former law partner
Posted November 18, 2013
Updated November 20, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will soon begin practicing law again with his former law partner, David Kirby, and his daughter Cate.
The Edwards Kirby law firm will have offices in Raleigh and Washington, D.C.
“It is a privilege to practice again, and we want to take on cases that, through litigation, change social inequalities in favor of the greater good,” Edwards said in a statement. “In building Edwards Kirby, we sought a team that has championed the causes of economic and social equality in court and in hundreds of communities across the country.”
Kirby is senior partner for the Kirby & Holt law firm in Raleigh, but his current partner, Mark Holt, and attorney Dave Sherlin opened their own law firm last week, according to filings with the Secretary of State's Office.
Their departure paved the way for Edwards to step in as Kirby's new partner, and Cate Edwards and her law partner, Sharon Eubanks, also will join the new firm.
"His life's mission, I think, has been to help people," Cate Edwards said of her father in an interview Monday with WRAL News. "Edwards Kirby is founded for that purpose – to give people a voice, to give the disenfranchised a voice."
The move is John Edwards' first foray back into the public eye following his acquittal last year on campaign finance fraud charges.
Federal authorities accused him of funneling campaign money to an aide to keep Rielle Hunter, his pregnant mistress, in hiding during the 2008 presidential campaign. Following a high-profile, month-long trial in Greensboro, a jury cleared him on one charge and couldn't reach a verdict on five other charges. Prosecutors decided not to retry him.
Since then, John Edwards has kept a low profile while living in Chapel Hill, but he has maintained an active law license, according to the North Carolina State Bar.
Officials with Raleigh-based public relations firm French West Vaughn confirmed he recently hired the firm to represent him.
Edwards and Kirby have known each other since they and Edwards' late wife, Elizabeth, attended law school together at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 1970s.
Elizabeth Edwards, who died of cancer in December 2010, cited Kirby in her memoir as standing by the couple through the 1996 death of their son, Wade, John Edwards’ criminal investigation and her illness. Kirby is the registered agent for the Elizabeth Edwards Foundation.
"I think my mom would be really proud of what we're doing (with the new firm)," Cate Edwards said
John Edwards and Kirby focused their earlier practice on personal injury law. One of their most well-known cases involved winning a multimillion-dollar judgment for a girl who was seriously injured by the suction of a pool drain.
“As someone who worked alongside John inside the courtroom for many years, I know that he is undoubtedly one of the best and most committed plaintiff lawyers in the country,” Kirby said in a statement. “We see this as an opportunity to help those people who need it most and intend to uphold their basic rights in the courts.”
Cate Edwards said the new law firm will also handle discrimination, consumer fraud and other cases that "impact on the broader social fabric."
John Edwards was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998, and after serving one term, he ran for president in 2004 and eventually became Democratic nominee John Kerry's vice presidential candidate. He ran again in 2008 but dropped out of the race after trailing in early primaries.
Edwards Kirby "is not a platform" for John Edwards to launch another campaign, his daughter said.