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Chart:California firms’ donations to the Parties While Tuesday’s election is too close to call, one thing is clear — California lawyers love John Kerry. By an overwhelming ratio of 9 to 1, state firms are sending more money to Democrats than Republicans in federal races, according to the results of an analysis performed for The Recorder by the Center for Responsive Politics. Attorneys here say they aren’t surprised. “This is the first year we’ve made a concerted effort to raise money among partners,” said Steven Kazan, of Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Farrise. “The survival of the Republic is at stake.” Kazan’s firm was the fourth-largest donor in California, giving a total of $269,675. Topping the list are Girardi & Keese, Paul, Hanley & Harley and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein — each donating mainly to the Democrats. Combined, the three firms gave $924,875, of which Republicans claimed only $10,250. Plaintiff firms ruled the list of top donors. Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins lawyers gave more than $200,000. And Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy gave nearly as much. There were also some surprises. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is considered a Republican-oriented firm — partner Theodore Olson defended the president in Bush v. Gore. But its California lawyers gave overwhelmingly to the Democrats — $211,100 versus $35,000 to Republicans. Among top-grossing Bay Area firms, Morrison & Foerster is a leader in donations to the John Kerry campaign. The Massachusetts Democrat received at least $67,400 from firm lawyers. Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe was next, donating at least $52,300. Pillsbury Winthrop led support of President Bush, with lawyers there donating at least $13,200. The study counted only lawyers with a California address, even though many firms staff offices outside the state. It also focused only on contributions to national party candidates, federal candidates, and national leadership PACs. Several attorneys interviewed — including Kazan — pointed out that they gave additional donations in a number of battleground states. And Lieff Cabraser believes its firm is the top California plaintiff firm contributor. “I would be amazed if we haven’t contributed $500,000 among the partners,” said Kazan, who said that for this election, he gave many times what he had contributed in past races. “I have personally written over $100,000 in checks myself this cycle.” Lieff Cabraser’s Robert Lieff said the biggest issues are the Supreme Court appointments and “misguided” Republican tort-reform efforts. Others also said they gave more than they had in years past. Jo Ann Hoenninger, a fifth-year associate with Heller, said she and her partner donated a combined $14,000 in the presidential race this year. “I believe the candidates when they say this is the most important election of my life,” she said. “At stake are some of the basic civil rights and liberties of Americans.” Alan Mendelson, a partner in Latham & Watkins’ Menlo Park office, contributed $7,500 to three Democratic presidential candidates, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center. “As my Republican wife points out, I have contributed more money to Democratic candidates and to Proposition 71 [in support of stem cell research] than what I probably contributed to the last three or four campaigns combined,” said Mendelson, co-chair of the firm’s venture and technology group. “It reflects my intense antipathy towards the president of the United States.” Regardless, Latham has plenty of Republican supporters among its ranks. The firm’s lawyers donated more money to Republicans than any other firm in California, chipping in $92,925, according to the analysis. Latham of counsel David Fleming, who gave $15,000 to a fund-raising group of the Republican National Convention, attributed the overwhelming Democratic support to the trial lawyers. “Trial lawyers have always been strong proponents of Democrats. They give them anything they want,” Fleming said. “Business lawyers tend to be tight-fisted.” Meanwhile, Heller partner Timothy Hoxie, who donated $500 to Bush and $250 to the Republican National Committee, said it is “no problem at all” being a Republican in Northern California. “I put a Bush sticker on the back of my white Prius,” he said. Hoxie said he wished there had been more real discussion this election. “On Nov. 3, we will all wake up in the same country,” he said. “It would be nice if we were all more comfortable with the other guy.” Nationally, law firms gave over $9 million in soft money this year — according to the Center. About 56 percent of that money went to Democrats and 44 percent to Republicans. In California, lawyers sent about 90 percent of their money to Democrats. Senior Writer Brenda Sandburg and staff writer Justin Scheck contributed to this story.

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