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Legal Times asked power brokers around town how their lives or how they do business has changed since the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Here’s what they had to say:
“On a personal note, I knew a woman who was on American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. Lisa Raines was the senior vice president for government relations for Genzyme Corp., a biotechnology company. We had worked together on various professional committees of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. I think that knowing someone who died on 9/11 only strengthened my resolve to impart the importance of emergency preparedness to others and, as a result, to acknowledge and respect the sacrifice of those who were lost.” — Michele Cimbala, director-partner at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox and head of SKGF’s emergency preparedness committee
“Immediately following the events of 9/11 we were able to build upon the long and deep experience our firm has had in providing counseling to clients in the national security and defense arena. This experience informed our advice that led to the drafting and passage of the SAFETY Act, to mitigate the liability concerns of companies responding to the government’s call — at all levels — for homeland security goods and services. It also allowed us to play a critical role in the formation of the biodefense industry and, eventually, the passage of the Project BioShield Act and the PREP Act, to help prepare the nation against both biochemical attack as well as possible influenza pandemic.” — John Clerici, partner and co-chair of McKenna Long & Aldridge‘s public health preparedness practice
“I remember receiving a phone call from someone in New York, after the phone lines went up, and they told me that one of my close friends and classmates from college was killed in the World Trade Center. I don’t know how they knew, but they knew. I remember it not being more than a couple of hours after the World Trade Center was hit that they knew. The friend who was killed had just gotten married, had a beautiful newborn baby girl, and started her dream job on Wall Street. “[That day] the last thing on my mind was legal work and the canceled trial matter that I had spent weeks preparing for. As things died down and we returned to work, the 9/11 tragedy, and my friend’s death in particular, demonstrated the importance of maintaining balance in one’s life. … 9/11 made me a more compassionate and zealous advocate, and I approach my clients’ legal problems with that in mind.” — Vincent Cohen Jr., partner, Schertler & Onorato
“The biggest change since 9/11 is that the security measures have discouraged us from trying to get down to the Hill like we used to in the old days. I’ve been lobbying since 1978, and you used to be able to roam through the Capitol. Now you need some kind of an excuse to get into the Capitol. And you have to stick a badge on. Hill staffers, they probably like it — there are not as many lobbyists around, and that makes it easier for them to get their jobs done. But you just don’t go to the Capitol anymore, and it’s sad.’ — Tom Jolly, chairman of Jolly/Rissler Inc.
“The 9/11 attacks had no effect on my personal life beyond what many others in Washington have experienced, but the attacks did have a seismic effect on my pro bono practice. Since 2004, several of my colleagues and I have been representing Guant�namo prisoners seeking federal habeas relief. We also represented a group of retired generals and admirals as amici supporting Salim Hamdan’s successful challenge to the president’s military commissions. “Although it can be disheartening to have to defend principles we had always thought were defining features of our constitutional system, it’s also immensely satisfying to be a voice for individuals seeking nothing more than their day in court and fair consideration of their claims. Because the issues we are litigating on their behalf go to the most basic human rights, our victories have been singularly meaningful and poignant.” — David Remes, a partner at Covington & Burling who represents 17 Yemeni detainees
“September 11th changed my career path and life in ways I never could have imagined. Little did I suspect that five years after the attacks I would be called to serve as the principal deputy assistant secretary for intelligence in the Department of Homeland Security. I could never have imagined this on September 11, 2001, since both this position and the Department of Homeland Security were not even in existence.” — Jack Tomarchio, principal deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security and a former lobbyist for Buchanan Ingersoll

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