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At Pillsbury Winthrop’s New York office, partners were 10 minutes into an early morning meeting when they saw the explosion 10 blocks away at the World Trade Center. Borrowing from her colleagues’ experiences, Marina Park, Pillsbury’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based firmwide managing partner, wrote the following narrative of events at the New York office in an e-mail to The Recorder: “Our new N.Y. managing partner, Don Kilpatrick, was holding his first-ever office management committee meeting this a.m. — it started at 8:30. “Here’s what they told me: They were in conference room 34A, which has a spectacular view of the city, including the World Trade Center. At around 8:45, they heard the first explosion and looked up to see smoke pouring out of the World Trade Center. They stood at the window to watch. “At around 9 a.m., a plane flew right by their window and banked towards the World Trade Center. They watched in horror as it flew into the World Trade Center. [Their] building was evacuated after the first tower collapsed. “They were outside when the second tower collapsed, but said the dust was so thick they could not breath — you could hardly see in front of you, and they escaped back upstairs into the building. “When I spoke with them about half an hour ago, they said that it looked like a volcano had erupted — our building overlooks Battery Park; there is thick ash and dust everywhere. Apparently, the mayor has now asked (or perhaps ordered — that’s not clear) folks to walk from downtown to uptown and the report from Con Edison is that the downtown power grid will be shut down later today.” One New York partner e-mailed Park the following message: “Five of us in a meeting this a.m. (and others too) saw the second plane hit the South Tower. A horrific sight. “Many of our people didn’t make it to work, which was good; the office is officially closed, and some have left; but there are a number of us here in the office, with no better alternative than to sit it out. “Many of our offices here have full views of the WTC. I feel like I’m in a 3D movie theater.” Park said her initial reaction was to close all of the firm’s West Coast offices that were located in large towers. But ultimately, she closed all of the firm’s 17 offices worldwide. The firm will reopen them on a “case-by-case basis,” she said. “Safety is important but this is beyond that. I don’t think any of us know whether this day has played out,” Park said mid-morning on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Mary Cranston, Pillsbury’s chairman, is stranded in Czechoslovakia, where she was vacationing with family, Park said. For now, Cranston is going to stay put, Park said, and communicate by mobile phone. “It’s not a safe time to travel,” she said. Some lawyers continued to hang around the firm’s Palo Alto office even after it was closed, either out of anxiety or fear, Park said. Still others went home or were calling clients to cancel meetings. Partner Jorge del Calvo said he was en route to a client meeting when he heard the news and while the meeting happened, they didn’t talk much business. “I don’t think a lot of work is getting done today. People want to be with their families,” del Calvo said.

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