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Some epithets just stick: Tricky Dick, Slick Willie, Greedy Associates. The last phrase was made famous by the Web site of the same name, where large firm associates gripe about starting salaries, bonuses, and sweatshop-like working conditions. Finally, there’s now an antidote: www.generousassociates.com, a site created to raise money for the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. The society helps poor people with family law, housing and public benefits in the district. (Criminal cases are handled by the Public Defender Service.) Legal Aid has a staff of 15 lawyers and a budget of $800,000, all privately financed. “Our lawyers are earning something in the $30,000 range and are seeing their peers earn $125,000,” says Joseph Zengerle, the society’s executive director. So every June, Legal Aid appeals to associates for help in covering its budget. This year, the society decided to try something different. With John McCain’s campaign contribution site in mind, the society’s fund-raising committee created a site to accept credit-card donations. The only thing missing was a name. “I literally woke up one night and had one thought: generousassociates.com,” says Marty Mazzone, a co-chair of the fund-raising committee and a fifth-year associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Latham & Watkins. Mazzone is eager to dispel the greed-is-good notion. “It sends a shudder through you when you hear that name and you’re getting tarred with that brush,” she says. Her co-chairs were thrilled. “Inspiration,” Kathleen Hudson, a third-year associate at Shaw- Pittman, calls it. Adds Charles Cowan, a fifth-year associate at Baach Robinson & Lewis, “It sends the right message. … The associates last year were very generous, and we wanted to reflect that fact. We also wanted to counterbalance some of the cynicism that’s pervaded some of the firms this year.” Building a secure Web site with a shoestring budget and a small staff was not easy. Says Zengerle, “We put this together with batting wire and chewing gum.” But the committee is hopeful that the convenience of donating online will encourage people to give. Last year’s associate drive garnered $125,000. This year’s target is $150,000. When the charity site isn’t counting on people’s goodwill, it will appeal to something more base: ambition. The site will list the five small, midsize and large firms with the most generous associates. “Attorneys are competitive,” acknowledges Hudson. Last year, she sent an e-mail around with a reference to the fact that Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering had contributed more than ShawPittman. One of her colleagues quickly called and agreed to double his contribution. The wicked wits behind the Greedy Associates site have agreed to place a banner ad on their site to promote the charity site. The anonymous Web master of Greedy Associates says that they are “very supportive of charity giving and pro bono efforts.” In an e-mail, the Web master says that the site’s name was always meant to be partly a spoof. Associates are no more greedy than “law partners, bankers, athletes, high-tech workers (many of whom float from job to job in pursuit of the best stock options) and many other segments of the work force,” the Web master wrote. Zengerle plans on keeping the generousassociates.com domain name and possibly making it available to others. “This thing is flapping in the breeze,” he says. “It could flap for a long time if this goes pretty well.” The contribution site for Washington, D.C.’s Legal Aid Office is located at www.generousassociates.com, a play on the name of the infamous www.greedyassociates.com.

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