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CHICAGO – Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is winning over lawyers and their money. Attorneys at the top ten biggest U.S. firms gave Obama more money during the first quarter of the year than they did to any of the other six frontrunners. The Illinois Democrat raked in $332,540 from the firms, with a hefty $102,270 lift from his former employer Sidley Austin, according to contribution figures provided by the Federal Election Commission for the period ending on March 31. Obama, who worked for Sidley briefly at its main office in Chicago and met his wife Michelle there, attracted about 520 lawyers to a lunch in the city earlier this month. The quarterly report from the commission was the first significant disclosure of the candidates’ fundraising for the 2008 election. Contributions from the 10 firms, ranked based on their attorney headcount, were based on employer names listed by the contributors. The firms also included Baker & McKenzie; DLA Piper; Jones Day; Latham & Watkins; Skadden Arps, Slate, Meahgher & Flom; White & Case; Greenberg Traurig; Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw; and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Senator Hillary Clinton, a Democrat from New York, was the runner-up with contributions of $227,950. Clinton, who grew up in suburban Chicago and served as a staff attorney on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in the early 1970s, took in her largest contribution from another major Chicago law Firm, with DLA Piper giving her $51,050 for the period. Still, in the battle between the city’s favorite son and the hometown daughter, Obama led the way, taking in more than twice as much as Clinton from the top five firms with major offices in Chicago. Baker & McKenzie; DLA Piper; Sidley; Mayer Brown and Kirkland & Ellis collectively contributed $184,872 to Obama and $89,050 to Clinton. Former Senator John Edwards, a trial lawyer and Democrat from North Carolina, raised $110,100 from the 10 firms, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who has held his Senate post since 1986, took in $70,350, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and later an attorney with White & Case in the late 1980s, got $42,400 and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has a law degree from Harvard Law School, raised $38,850. Individuals can contribute up to $2,300 to a single candidate while political action committees can give up to $5,000 under federal law.

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