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GOVERNOR-ELECT PUMPS UP TRANSITION WITH LAWYERS Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and his top advisers have a legal dream team to help the action star-turned-politician muscle through his transition into the governor’s office. Schwarzenegger’s transition team includes lawyer names like San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Los Angeles Mayor (and former City Attorney) James Hahn, former Gov. Pete Wilson, former L.A. Mayor and Riordan & McKenzie honcho Richard Riordan, and ex-gubernatorial candidate and former federal prosecutor William Simon. Matt Fong, ex-state treasurer; Robert Hertzberg, a Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw partner and former Assembly speaker; and San Bernardino County DA Michael Ramos are also lending a hand. But the lawyer list isn’t limited to attorneys-turned-politicians. There’s David Crane, a San Francisco lawyer and partner at Babcock & Brown; George Kieffer, a former Riordan aide and head of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips government division; Viet Dinh, Georgetown University Law Center professor; and Charles Diamond, an O’Melveny & Myers partner who served as lawyer for recall advocates. University of Southern California law professor and frequent TV commentator Susan Estrich will be giving advice — though perhaps not on political strategy. She was senior adviser for both Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis in their losing presidential bids. Those reading the list looking for Bush administration ties won’t be disappointed. Gerald Parsky, an attorney and top Republican fund-raiser who helps vet California judicial hopefuls for the president, is aiding the transition as well. Of course, not every politically connected lawyer made the list. Where, for instance, is Columbia Law School grad Gray Davis? — David Brown THE VOTERS SPEAK –AGAIN A tort reform group jumped on the recall bandwagon last week, urging voters to visit its “Lawsuit Recall” Web page after they visited the polls. In an effort to draw attention to what it sees as overzealous use of the courts by personal injury attorneys, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse set up www.recall-lawsuits.com. The site asks visitors to vote on seven cases the group considers “the worst of the worst.” The site will keep taking votes through Friday, said Diann Rogers, executive director of the central California CALA chapter. The cases on the site were given funny names, such as “hitting the jack-potty,” a personal injury suit about a man suing over a missing restroom doorknob, and “chubby cherubs,” the well-publicized lawsuit that claimed fast food makes people obese. Although it might seem like a bit of a stretch to connect the recall of Gov. Gray Davis with tort reform, Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger did make changing civil courts part of his platform. Rogers said she is “absolutely” thrilled about Schwarzenegger’s victory. Even with the connection to the election, though, none of the cases on the Web page were from California. Rogers explained that her group only wanted the most egregious cases on the site. “[The California cases] didn’t meet the criteria of being the most absurd,” she said. — Jeff Chorney JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE Inter-office romance, arrogant partners and angst — sounds like just about any law firm in San Francisco. In fact, it’s the work of Jaeson Post, whose play “Worse Than Chocolate” is set in a fictitious San Francisco law firm and opens Thursday at Theatre Rhinoceros. The play revolves around a lesbian who works in the firm’s word processing department and becomes romantically involved with an attorney at the firm. In so doing, the lead character violates the lesbian taboo of dating straight women and her co-workers’ taboo of consorting with the lawyers they so disdain. Characterized by Post as an “old-fashioned romantic comedy,” the play explores the upstairs-downstairs division between staff and attorneys that exists at some law firms. “It’s such a stratified atmosphere,” says Post. “It’s one of the last bastions of hierarchical elitism where you can get away with that shit.” Post would know. He wrote the play over several years while working in the word processing departments at two different San Francisco firms. The play ran for two weeks at Exit Stage Left last December from which it got picked up by Theatre Rhinoceros. Despite the play’s many potshots at lawyers, Post, who is currently a legal secretary at San Francisco’s nine-attorney Steyer Lowenthal Boodrookas Alvarez & Smith, says his employer has been incredibly supportive of the production. And as a tribute to Bay Area firms, Post is even inviting local attorneys to perform a two-line cameo in the first scene, with the goal of featuring a different attorney on each of the play’s 22-night run. “It’s a fun idea and it’s a great chance for people from a particular office to come together on the same night,” says Post. — Alexei Oreskovic

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