Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The wheels of justice in the San Francisco Bay Area were turning again Wednesday, albeit slowly. State and federal courts did their best to imitate life as it was before Tuesday’s tragedy, the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history. Courts, some under heightened security, resumed calendars, while law firms organized blood drives and reached out to clients affected by the carnage. Two candidates for San Francisco city attorney even suspended their campaigns. The apparent hijacking of four jets that led to the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York and an attack on the Pentagon have presumably left thousands dead, including San Francisco attorney Alan Beaven. As with the rest of America, the legal community in the San Francisco area began Wednesday to piece together its shattered routines. The state supreme court, the First District Court of Appeal and the Administrative Office of the Courts — all located in San Francisco’s highly visible Civic Center complex and closed Wednesday — were open for business. Even so, it may be awhile before things return to normal. The Judicial Council of California issued an order late Tuesday permitting appellate and trial courts statewide to suspend all operations through Thursday if they wish. The order, signed by Chief Justice Ronald George, also allows court sessions to be held anywhere in a county, including in correctional and juvenile detention facilities. In addition, the two-page order allows courts to transfer civil cases to other courts within the same county and extends the time periods for bringing felony defendants before a magistrate for arraignment, holding preliminary examinations, taking cases to trial, holding detention hearings for minors and adjudicating a juvenile court petition. The time extensions were allowed only after California Gov. Gray Davis declared a state of emergency. No such proclamations were forthcoming from Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. A day after the federal building in San Francisco had been shut down and the streets surrounding it barricaded, it was left to individual judges to manage their courtrooms. “We’re here. We’re pretending that it’s business as usual,” said deputy court clerk Jim Gilmore. Attorneys Dennis Herrera and James Lazarus, both candidates to succeed outgoing City Attorney Louise Renne, said Wednesday they were putting their campaigns on hold. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to be out politicking at a time like this,” Herrera said. Lazarus echoed those sentiments and said he would work as a volunteer for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein “to assist the people of California during this time.” Candidates Neil Eisenberg and Stephen Williams said it would be politics as usual for them. Both said they would attend meet-the-candidate sessions Wednesday night. “The point of the attack was to shut down our processes,” said Eisenberg. “So do we participate in the political process? Yes.” Williams offered similar sentiments, saying “my feeling is that we can’t let terrorists control our schedule.” Meanwhile, State Bar operations in San Francisco and Los Angeles resumed. “We are open, but on heightened security alert,” spokesman Marlon Villa said Wednesday. “People should keep their State Bar IDs with them at all times.” The tragedy touched the legal community in many ways. San Francisco lawyer Beaven, an environmental lawyer with Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo, died in the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. Others were luckier, escaping tragedy. There were reports that government antitrust lawyers from every division in the country — including the San Francisco office — were staying at the New York Marriott World Trade Center for a meeting. The hotel is adjacent to the site of the destroyed Trade Center towers. Justice department officials say all have been accounted for. Hayward Kaiser, a partner at Los Angeles’ Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, was in the center of the storm when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. He had been taking a deposition in a business building four blocks from the Center when he saw the second plane hit. He evacuated the building and then joined the rush of people fleeing as the towers collapsed. “He got covered by debris himself,” said Deborah Koeffler, managing partner of the firm. She said Kaiser, who happens to be a runner, jogged to the Hudson River where he jumped a fence, got on a ferry and sailed to Jersey City. On Wednesday, Kaiser was driving back to Los Angeles and could not be reached for comment. Three employees of Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold’s New York office were injured in the chaos that followed the collapse of the towers, said Kevin Dunne, Sedgwick’s managing partner. One was cut by shards of glass, another was treated for smoke inhalation, and a third was trampled as throngs of people tried to escape smoke and dust, Dunne said. Their injuries were minor and all three of them will recover, Dunne said. But the emotional toll on Sedgwick’s New York team could take longer to heal, he added. “Several partners saw the planes collide [with the towers] and watched people jumping,” Dunne said. One partner watched in horror from a ferry on the Hudson River as the first tower exploded and people leapt to their deaths rather than burn in the fire, Dunne said. Still others were trapped at the river by smoke and debris as they tried to crowd onto ferries to escape the city, he said. “They said day turned to night and it was like a nuclear cloud that blocked the sun, and it started raining debris and soot,” Dunne said. “Then the police just sort of started a forced march of everyone north.” Sedgwick’s New York office, which is just a few blocks from the World Trade Center, will remain closed as long as the area is cordoned off by police and rescue personnel. But while the rest of the firm tried to get back to business, concentrating on work was difficult, he said. “I’m just talking to a lot of people,” Dunne said. “I can’t do much today.” Pillsbury Winthrop’s New York office, which is 10 blocks away from the towers, remained closed on Wednesday as well. On the West Coast, the firm was trying to organize a blood drive as a way for its lawyers to help. In Silicon Valley, the firm enlisted support for the drive from Fenwick & West, Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, Venture Law Group and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. In Los Angeles, the firm was put on a waiting list by overwhelmed blood centers, said Crystal Rockwood, Pillsbury’s spokeswoman. She said she was still hoping to organize a blood drive in Northern California within the next few days. Littler Mendelson’s New York office, located well north of the financial district, was open but few people could make it to work, said David Rosen, a partner who works in the firm’s New York and Newark, N.J., offices. Many bridges and highways were closed and public transportation was spotty, Rosen said. Rosen spent the day trying to make sure his clients were safe. “Everybody is drifting through the workday,” he said. Late Tuesday, he prepared suggestions for clients on how to support employees who were suffering emotionally. He suggested companies put off nonessential meetings and grant leaves of absence liberally. “It’s just not business as usual,” Rosen said. A partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has a son who worked in the complex. “He would have been in a perilous spot,” said Orrick Chairman Ralph Baxter Jr. But by a stroke of fate, his train was late that morning so he arrived at work after the first building had been hit and did not go inside. Orrick does business with 38 clients or associated firms located in the Center. “We’ll be reaching out to them and offering what assistance we can” in terms of office space and use of technology, Baxter said. Los Angeles-based Paul, Hastings, Janosfsky & Walker is also opening its New York and Stamford, Conn., offices to firms and businesses that were in the World Trade Center or surrounding area. Individuals within the firm also are organizing blood drives and fund-raising for police and firemen — hundreds of which are missing. The State Bar Court in San Francisco and L.A. reopened Wednesday. Los Angeles-based Presiding Judge James Obrien said the court only has to reschedule three oral arguments that were supposed to be held Tuesday in the appellate department. He also said no one is being allowed in the L.A. court without identification or some contact with a court employee. California State Bar President Karen Nobumoto said Wednesday that the organization will be trying to cross-reference the names of passengers lost in the four flights originally headed for California with State Bar membership records. She hopes to have the Bar provide comfort for the families of any California lawyers who died in Tuesday’s national calamity and figure out a way to help clients if the deceased were solo practitioners. Nobumoto, who took office only on Saturday, also suggested that lawyers participate in blood drives. “I definitely believe a blood drive is important for us to do,” she said. “Our country needs our blood right now.” Recorder reporters Renee Deger, Mike McKee, Dennis Opatrny and Brenda Sandburg contributed to this report.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.