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Mark Chandler, the general counsel of Cisco Systems, Inc., first met Hillary Clinton in January 2007 in Washington. He was eating breakfast at Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill with his 19-year-old daughter and his friend Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist and Democratic campaign manager. The New York senator, also at the restaurant, came over to Chandler’s table to say hello. She spoke with them for 20 minutes, making Chandler’s awestruck daughter feel comfortable and impressing him with her knowledge of the issues facing technology companies. “When she walked away from my table, I said to myself, �What can I do to help this woman become president?’” says Chandler. He didn’t waste time in answering his own question. For the past year, he has been balancing being in the top lawyer spot at one of the nation’s most prominent technology companies with rousing support for Clinton among attorneys across the country. As co-chair of Lawyers for Hillary, Chandler, who has given more than $200,000 to Democratic candidates and committees, has helped line up active support from lawyers in 73 firms across the country and around a dozen in-house counsel. And employees of Cisco have donated $94,100 to the Clinton campaign. The leaders of Lawyers for Hillary also include Lee Miller, the joint chief executive officer of DLA Piper and Kathryn Oberly, general counsel of Ernst & Young. “I’m passionate about it because I’m very committed to moving our country in a new direction, and I think she is in the best position to really affect the change that’s needed in this country,” says Chandler. Both the Clinton and Obama campaigns have worked hard to court the legal community — and for good reason. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington nonprofit that tracks political contributions, the legal industry is the top donor to both Clinton and Obama. The Clinton camp has raised $13.2 million from lawyers and law firms thus far, and Obama has pulled in $11.2 million. In fact, Clinton’s top donors are attorneys at DLA Piper, who pitched in $490,800 to her campaign. Miller and former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard, who co-chairs DLA’s government affairs practice, spearheaded the effort along with partners John Merrigan and Gregory Gallo. Blanchard, who points out that attorneys at the firm are active for both Democratic candidates as well as for Republican John McCain, also co-chairs Clinton’s campaign in Michigan and serves on her national finance committee. Six of her top 20 donors come from contributions of lawyers at law firms. Attorneys from Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom, Greenberg Traurig, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, and Patton Boggs all contributed more than $100,000 to her campaign. In-house attorneys like Chandler are giving their fair share as well. Laureen Seeger, general counsel for McKesson Corp., works with Lawyers for Hillary and donated $4,600 to her campaign. Stephen Cutler, who heads up J.P. Morgan Chase’s legal department, donated $2,300 to Clinton, and Citigroup’s Michael Helfer gave $4,600 to Clinton (and $1,000 to Obama). Michael Fricklas, GC of Viacom, gave $2,300 to Clinton and $2,250 to Obama. Weldon Latham, a senior partner at Davis Wright Tremaine and a national co-chairman of Clinton’s campaign, says that since the Texas and Ohio primaries the level of support has gone up. “I’ve gotten a lot of calls from a lot of people who were nervous before who are now reenergized and excited,” he says. As Legal Times reported last week, several former Clintonites — Eric Holder Jr. and Gregory Craig, for instance — have gone over to the Obama camp. But Clinton still has a hold on attorneys, many of whom have known her for years. “Her candidacy has had tremendous resonance in the legal community,” says Chandler. Take Lanny Davis. A partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Davis is volunteering for the Clinton campaign. He met Clinton in her first few days at Yale in 1969 and was so impressed with her commencement speech at Wellesley College that when he introduced himself, he told her, “I just read your speech. I think someday you’re going to be president.” “That began a very good friendship,” says Davis.
Attila Berry can be contacted at [email protected].

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