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News flash: lefties welcome at white-shoe law firm



Vivia Chen and Daphne Eviatar at AmLaw Daily present the story as if it's somehow surprising and counterintuitive:

Indeed, it's not often that heroes of the radical Left are honored at a white-shoe law firm like Clifford Chance. But last night, there they were: Janet Nocek, Hany Kiareldeen, and [longtime anti-business activist] Ray Rogers -- just three of many recent victims of the sort of arbitrary, Kafkaesque government actions that most of us thought had ended with the McCarthy era.

The occasion was a promotion of a new oral history/photography book celebrating litigants including "Margaret Randall, ordered deported in 1984 on the basis of her past communist writings; seven Palestinians arrested in Los Angeles in 1987 for distributing literature for the PLO, and who spent the next 21 years in deportation proceedings," Pete Seeger, Benjamin Spock, and so forth. Presiding was pillar of the legal Left David Cole (Center for Constitutional Rights, Georgetown Law, correspondent for The Nation).

The walls of Clifford Chance's New York office lobby now attest to the courage of those who've stood up against such abuses and insisted on exercising their constitutional rights. They feature photographs of and words from 19 such individuals included in the book. ... Clifford Chance sponsored the book party on the advice of a consultant who advises the firm on art and diversity.

Well, actually, none of this should come as particularly surprising -- not in a world where the American Bar Association selects Bernardine Dohrn to co-chair its Task Force on Children, nor in a world in which lefter-than-thou pro bono work seems to come pretty much standard at white-shoe firms. (Wanna come to the U.S. to distribute PLO literature? Sure, you've got a Constitutional right to do that, and it's McCarthyite for anyone to think otherwise.) It seems pretty well accepted that the ideological center of gravity at elite law firms like this one, as expressed in pro bono and "public interest law" activity, registers quite a few notches to the left of, say, the average Democrat in the street. Maybe that's a story in itself? (& welcome David Bernstein @ Volokh readers).

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.