OK, now the Penn State scandal is ready to be made into a John Grisham novel. Joe Paterno has officially hired a lawyer, and it's not just any lawyer, but a guy named J. Sedwick ("Wick") Sollers from the firm King and Spalding. He went to Princeton, naturally. Is it me, or did it just get waspy in here?
According to Washingtonian, Wick's shoes aren't quite as white as you might think they are:
Though some initial reports of Sollers' involvement touted him as a top criminal defender, he is not among the circle of elite Washington white-collar defenders whom celebrities, politicians, and other high-profile folks usually turn to in this city when they're in trouble.
If Paterno really thought the you-know-what was about to hit the fan, lawyers he'd turn to would most likely be Steptoe & Johnson's Reid Weingarten (who represents Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein), Chadbourne & Parke's Abbe Lowell (John Edwards's lawyer), and Williams & Connolly's Brendan Sullivan (currently counseling Rupert Murdoch through News Corp's phone-hacking scandal). Pennsylvania attorney general Linda Kelly has said that Paterno is not the target of a criminal investigation, and indeed he has not been charged with any crimes. Though it's easy to assume his decision to lawyer up means he thinks this will change, his apparent passing over of the obvious choices for someone in serious criminal trouble is actually an indication that he does not anticipate the focus of the criminal investigation to shift to him.
Not that Wick Sollers isn't a stellar lawyer with a longstanding great reputation. In the words of another well-regarded DC attorney, Paterno "needs a hand-holder . . . Wick is a decent, careful guy." Sollers has been the managing partner of the DC office of King & Spalding, a large Atlanta-based firm, for years. He does plenty of criminal work, though it revolves around representing corporations and their executives rather than celebrity types, and he also focuses on civil litigation—likely more along the lines of what Paterno will need him for.
If anyone can lift away the stain on Joe Paterno's reputation, it's ol' Wick here.