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New York Democrats have sent their own brigade of 29 volunteer lawyers to help fight the legal ground war in Florida that may well determine whether Al Gore or George W. Bush becomes the next President. The Republicans may also have sent several volunteers to Florida, but their effort has been directed from Washington, D.C. At 7 p.m. Saturday night, Morton H. Fry, co-head of New York Lawyers for Gore-Lieberman, recalled he got an urgent call from the Democratic National Committee asking for volunteer lawyers to come to Palm Beach County. He and the other committee head, Douglas Dunham, a counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, started calling their contacts in large firms, as well as lawyers who had been generous in giving their time to the campaign. Before nightfall on Sunday, the Democrats had 29 lawyers on the ground in Florida, all but two of them in Palm Beach County. The other two were assigned to Seminole County, where they worked on allegations that the Bush campaign was afforded one-sided access to correct problems with absentee ballots. The remaining 27 volunteers have been assigned to take affidavits from Palm Beach voters who claim they were confused by the “butterfly” ballot form used in that county. The volunteers also will monitor the hand recount, if the courts allow it to go forward. The New York group included Robert M. Hallman, a senior environmental partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel; Steven Russo, a Democratic district leader on the Upper West Side and partner at Sive, Paget & Riesel, an environmental boutique firm; Arthur Schwartz, a Democratic district leader in Greenwich Village, and partner at Kennedy, Schwartz & Cure, a labor law firm; Jay Levy-Warren, a counsel at Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman; Joshua Berger and Jana Eisinger, associates at Skadden Arps; and Mark Glaze, an associate at Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells. The lawyers’ work on the ground Wednesday was overshadowed by another New York lawyer, David Boies, who was tapped by the Gore campaign to spearhead the drive to secure a manual recount. Boies, who left Cravath, Swaine & Moore several years ago to form his own firm in Westchester County, now known as Boies, Schiller & Flexner, is fresh off his antitrust victory over Microsoft. Five members of the group were from Connecticut. They were recruited by former Connecticut Attorney General, Clarine Nardi Riddle, said Fry. In addition, the group has another 10 lawyers from Manhattan and 10 to 15 more from Long Island to throw into the fray if necessary, he added. The National Lawyers for Bush-Cheney also sent out an urgent e-mail seeking volunteers for Florida late last week, a leader of the group’s chapter in New York said. The e-mail was forwarded to all 200 members in New York, but because their replies were made directly to Washington, D.C., the lawyer said, it was uncertain how many actually made the trip to Florida. He added, though, that he was certain that some went. Several of the Gore volunteers said they had to take extraordinary measures to clear their desks so they could make the trip. Steven Sinatra, a commercial litigator at Solomon & Weinberg, said he had to find another attorney at his 15-lawyer firm to cover a deposition Monday morning. Other lawyers at the firm agreed to get out legal papers to meet deadlines during the week, he added. Hallman, the environmental partner at Cahill Gordon, said he had to work all day Sunday before boarding a plane to Palm Beach. Also, he had to take a 1 a.m. flight back to New York Wednesday to be on time for an appearance later in the day in a bankruptcy case in the Eastern District of New York.

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