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Lawyers and law firms dropped another $13 million into the coffers of the 2008 presidential campaigns during the second quarter, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Since the start of the year, the legal industry has contributed $27.5 million to the campaigns, 66% of which has gone to three Democratic candidates: Former Senator John Edwards, of North Carolina; Senator Hillary Clinton, D-NY; and Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill. Contributions made in the second quarter, which ended on June 30, were released on July 15. Edwards continues to lead in lawyer contributions, with $6.5 million banked so far, but Clinton narrowed a first quarter gap after ending this quarter with a total $6.26 million raised from lawyers. Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School, raised $5.47 million from the legal community, the third largest amount among the presidential candidates. Obama and Clinton have benefited largely from the nation’s largest law firms, including Kirkland & Ellis and New York-based Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Clinton’s top contributor among all industries was DLA Piper, whose employees stepped up considerably in the second quarter to give a total of $284,620 to her campaign. The Center for Responsive Politics includes family members of those employees in its contribution calculations. One relatively new major law firm contributor to the Clinton campaign is Philadelphia-based Blank Rome, whose employees have given about $96,500 since late March. Employees of Obama’s former employer, Sidley Austin, stepped up their efforts to give his campaign a total of $189,365, more than any other law firm. In contrast, Edwards, a trial lawyer, collected most of his largest contributions overall from small law firms, many of which specialize in personal injury cases. Fifteen of his top 20 contributors so far have come from law firms. His top law firm contributor, Miami-based Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, emerged this quarter with its employees making $108,500 in donations. Other new top donors include: Motley Rice, of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., with $40,800; Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese, with $39,100; and Novato, Calif.-based Brayton Purcell, at $36,900. During the second quarter, two law firms appeared among the top contributors to former New Mexico Governor and Democratic candidate Bill Richardson. Employees at Philadelphia-based Cozen O’Connor gave $14,650, while those at New York’s Labaton, Sucharow & Rudoff gave $13,800. Among Republican candidates, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has raised the most from lawyers, with $2.2 million in total. His own law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, has given the most, with $87,000 since the start of the year. But just behind that is Los Angeles-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which has four partners on Giuliani’s recently announced justice advisory committee, including its chairman, Ted Olson, former solicitor general of the United States. Gibson has given a total of $84,525 to his campaign. New York-based Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen became a major donor to Giuliani during the second quarter with $53,650 in contributions. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., each have collected about $1.76 million from lawyers since the start of the year. Romney, whose largest law firm contributors include Kirkland & Ellis and Boston-based Ropes & Gray, has received more than $22,000 from employees of Washington’s Patton Boggs, where one of its partners, Benjamin Ginsberg, is among the campaign’s top counsel. The employees at Patton Boggs gave most of their money, however, to Clinton’s campaign.

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