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For what it's worth, I think you're an asshole.
― Clifford Main to Jimmy McGill[src]

Clifford "Cliff" Main is the founder and a senior partner at Davis & Main, a respected law firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a former employer of Jimmy McGill.


Warning, the following may contain spoilers.
When the Sandpiper case becomes too big for HHM alone, they affiliate with D&M. Jimmy's girlfriend and later wife Kim Wexler recommends Jimmy to Cliff, and D&M hires Jimmy as an associate. Jimmy's unauthorized airing of a television ad soliciting clients for the Sandpiper lawsuit leads to him quitting D&M, but the firm continues to work with HHM on the Sandpiper case.


When Jimmy and Kim decide to obtain Jimmy's share of the settlement or judgment sooner by forcing a resolution of the Sandpiper case, they take advantage of Cliff's friendship with Howard Hamlin to smear Howard's reputation as part of their scheme.

History

Better Call Saul

Backstory

Cliff has a wife, Alice, who has a newfound passion for baking and a son, Gregory, who later developed a drug addiction. At some point during his life, Cliff founded Davis & Main, a respected law firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, later becoming a senior partner of the firm.

Season 2

Cliff meets with Jimmy McGill when he is offered a job at Davis & Main. Jimmy respectfully turns down the offer, but reconsiders and calls Cliff the following day to ask if the job is still on the table. Cliff accepts and shows him around the firm's office in Santa Fe. ("Switch") Soon after joining D&M, Jimmy finds Cliff playing a guitar in his office, which he plays to “blow off steam." Cliff commends Jimmy on his hard work. Later, Cliff and other representatives from D&M meet with lawyers from Jimmy's former employer, Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill, to confer on the Sandpiper Crossing class-action case. ("Cobbler")

After another meeting with HHM, Jimmy approaches Cliff and pitches an alternative way to recruit clients for the Sandpiper litigation, asking to create a television commercial. Cliff acknowledges that D&M has produced a commercial for a previous class action lawsuit, so he'd be open to discussing the idea. Despite not actually getting a go-ahead from Cliff, Jimmy creates the commercial. After he hears that Jimmy has broadcast the commercial without his permission, he angrily confronts Jimmy over the phone. ("Amarillo")

Jimmy screens the commercial for Cliff and two other partners at D&M, Doug Lynton and Ms. Cordova. Despite Jimmy's assertion that the commercial was a boon to the firm from a financial and client recruitment perspective, the partners lambaste him for airing it without their consent. Even though the majority of the partners want to fire Jimmy for cause, Cliff decides to give him a second chance with the understanding that he'll be under a great deal of scrutiny going forward. ("Gloves Off")

Losing interest in his job, Jimmy realizes that he can't keep his bonus if he quits but can if he gets fired without cause. Therefore, he begins going out of his way to bother Cliff and his co-workers; he begins to wear colorful suits to work, brings in a loud juicer for the office kitchen, stops flushing the toilet in the bathroom and plays a loud bagpipe. Eventually, Cliff summons Jimmy to his office and says he knows why he is trying to get fired - because he wants to keep the bonus. Cliff grants Jimmy his wish and fires him from D&M. Baffled by Jimmy's behavior, Cliff asks why he rejected every chance that was given to him at the firm; Jimmy regretfully states that he never fit in in the first place. Jimmy says that, for what it's worth, he thinks Cliff is a "great guy"; Cliff replies that he thinks Jimmy is an "asshole." ("Inflatable")

Season 4

Cliff attends Chuck McGill's funeral and gives his condolences to Jimmy. ("Smoke")

Season 5

Cliff has lunch with Howard Hamlin when the latter is accosted by Sally and Honeydew, two prostitutes hired by Jimmy to humiliate Howard. ("Wexler v. Goodman")

Season 6

As part of a plot to discredit Howard and force a settlement in the Sandpiper case, Jimmy's wife, Kim Wexler, suggests using Cliff as an unwitting pawn in the scheme. Jimmy infiltrates a country club while Cliff and Howard are playing golf, tracks down Howard's locker, and plants a small bag of baby powder that can be easily mistaken for cocaine. When Howard and Cliff return from their game and the bag falls out of Howard's locker, both men are keen to dismiss it as something hidden by a member of the club's staff. However, Cliff is taken aback by what he has apparently witnessed. Jimmy and Kim watch from their rental car as Cliff and Howard leave the club. ("Wine and Roses")

For the next move against Howard, Jimmy entices Craig and Betsy Kettleman to visit Davis & Main and attempt to hire Cliff for a lawsuit against HHM for ineffective assistance of counsel, repeating a story fed to them by Jimmy suggesting that Craig was convicted of embezzlement because Howard's ability to defend him was impaired by purported cocaine abuse. Cliff refuses to take the Kettlemans' case, telling them that doing so would constitute a conflict-of-interest, that Craig's conviction is impossible to reverse, and that he doesn't believe their claims about Howard. However, following the meeting, Cliff can't bring himself to play his guitar in his office, demonstrating that he is troubled by the Kettlemans' story as well as what he saw at the country club. ("Carrot and Stick")

The next phase of Jimmy and Kim's scheme is for Jimmy to dress up like Howard, use duplicated keys to steal his Jaguar, and recruit a prostitute named Wendy to act out a scene where "Howard" throws her out of the car while Cliff and Kim are having a business lunch at a nearby outdoor cafe. ("Hit and Run") Cliff witnesses the incident as expected and feels compelled to confront Howard after a meeting with their elderly clients at Sandpiper Crossing. Cliff urges Howard to seek help for what he thinks is a drug problem, but Howard is confused by Cliff's accusations. However, Howard realizes that he is being set up when Cliff admits that the car incident happened while he was meeting with Kim. ("Black and Blue")

At HHM, Howard is preparing the conference room for the upcoming mediation session in the Sandpiper case. Howard and Julie meet with Cliff and Irene Landry, the class representative in the Sandpiper lawsuit. Howard and Cliff explain to Irene how a typical mediation is supposed to proceed. Irene expresses relief that the lawsuit will soon be over, but the two lawyers advise her that the case is likely to continue for at least a year or more. Howard is bothered by the residue still on his hands that had been left behind from his handling of Genidowski's photos. He also begins to feel increasingly hot as he insists on pushing Irene in a wheelchair to the conference room. There, Erin acts as a stenographer for all clients remotely participating via conference call. Howard and Cliff exchange greetings with their counterparts from Schweikart & Cokely, who represent Sandpiper Assisted Living. Unbeknownst to Erin, Jimmy and Kim are also listening in to the meeting, through a burner phone in Jimmy's office.

The last person to enter the conference room is the mediator, retired judge Rand Casimiro, whom Howard instantly believes he recognizes from Genidowski's photos. As Casimiro opens the proceedings, an incensed Howard disrupts his speech and proceeds to grill the mediator as to his actions that morning. Howard has Julie retrieve the envelope containing Genidowski's surveillance photos, which he insists will prove that Casimiro had received a $20,000 payoff bribe from Jimmy at a park. However, once Howard gets his hands on the photos, he discovers that they instead show Jimmy innocently handing a frisbee to a jogger (actually the sound technician from his crew, in disguise). Howard becomes increasingly frustrated and his pupils begin to dilate, unnerving everyone else in the room. Cliff calls for a recess and walks an irate Howard out of the room. In the hallway, Cliff apologizes to Casimiro. Schweikart tells Cliff that his team is rescinding to their original settlement offer and that it will be reduced by a million dollars a day if it's not accepted immediately.

Cliff goes to Howard's office, where Howard is by now unkempt and agitated (despite claiming to have regained full capacity of himself and not being under the influence of drugs). Howard, who has discovered that Genidowski's phone number has been disconnected, surmises that the private investigator had been in on Jimmy's plan all along. He raves to Cliff that Jimmy has targeted him in order to deliberately torpedo the mediation and force an expedited settlement. Cliff expresses misgivings and thinks that Howard's claims about Jimmy are a paranoid conspiracy theory, which even if true, cannot undo the damage already done. He tells Howard about Schweikart's amended demands and says that he is obligated to inform his partners all about what he had witnessed transpire in the conference room. Howard wants to implicate Jimmy and bring him before a civil trial, but Cliff dismisses this—his only concern now is to cut their losses and take the best course of action for their clients. From their burner phone's speaker, Cliff's voice is heard announcing to everyone listening on the conference call that a settlement agreement has been reached in the Sandpiper case. ("Plan and Execution")

Appearances

Better Call Saul

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6
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