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LOS ANGELES � Lawyers in San Diego and professors at Pepperdine University School of Law were forced to evacuate their homes and offices on Monday as wildfires burned across Southern California. By Oct. 22, a dozen wildfires had burned hundreds of thousands of acres in seven California counties. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. In San Diego, several wildfires had burned more than 100,000 acres. More than a dozen law firms closed their San Diego offices, primarily in the northern areas of Del Mar and Carmel Valley, where more than 250,000 people were forced to evacuate on Monday. Many law firms anticipated their offices to remain closed on Oct. 23. “It’s really unlike anything I’ve seen before,” said Bob Bell, managing partner of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, where about one-third of the firm’s lawyers and staff, including him, were affected by the wildfires. “A firestorm is really what it is.” Doors closed Luce Forward closed its office in Carmel Valley/Del Mar and in nearby Rancho Santa Fe. Its downtown San Diego office remained open on Oct. 22. Several law firms closed offices in San Diego including Fish & Richardson; Latham & Watkins; Cooley Godward Kronish; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith; Wilson Petty Kosmo & Turner; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Dan Newman, a spokesman for San Diego’s Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, said the firm’s office is open but that its employees are assisting evacuees and its lawyers are “looking at a number of ways to provide charitable assistance to the victims.” The San Diego Superior Court will remain closed on Oct. 23 due to the wildfires, and San Diego District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis sent a notice to all employees in her office to remain at home until the fire danger subsides. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California also closed on Oct. 22. Bell of Luce Forward said he and his wife evacuated their house in Rancho Santa Fe on the morning of Oct. 22. They planned to stay in a downtown hotel that night, but lawyers and staff at Luce Forward are offering their homes to those who had to evacuate. “I hope it’s there,” he said on Monday afternoon of his house. When he evacuated, large trees had blown over. “It looked like a black fog. The moon this morning was orange.” Sitting on a roof Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles area, several law professors have been fighting for their homes as a wildfire near Pepperdine University forced the school to cancel classes on Oct. 22 at its main campus in Malibu, Calif., which includes Pepperdine University School of Law. “I’ve been watching for the last several hours with my hose in hand,” said high court scholar Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine who sat on the roof of his house while helicopters dumped water on nearby flames Monday morning. “The sky is literally filled like an air show.” Classes at Pepperdine’s main campus were canceled on Monday, with roads closed going to and from the university. The campus, with a view of the Pacific Ocean, lies at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, where the wildfire had destroyed two dozen buildings and burned more than 2,400 acres since Oct. 21. As of Monday morning, the fire was 10% contained. Kmiec and his wife live in the Carbon Canyon area, where the flames in Malibu were headed on the morning of Oct. 22. “We spent most of the day yesterday trying to move brush away from the house and making sure we had some things packed,” he said. About 30% of all Pepperdine faculty and 50% of the students live on campus, Kmiec said. Those residents were moved to fireproof buildings but allowed to return to their homes and dorms on Sunday afternoon, according to the school’s Web site. Other law professors weren’t so lucky. Bernard James, a member of Pepperdine’s law faculty for nearly 25 years, and his wife, Connie James, associate professor of business at Pepperdine, have moved into the home of a colleague after their house burned down on Oct. 21, Kmiec said.

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