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The U.S. Air Force’s 193d Special Operations Wing includes six lumbering, 28-year-old turboprop airplanes that at first glance seem unprepared for modern warfare. The battles fought by the EC-130 aircraft assigned to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s base in Middletown, Pa., are, in fact, psychological in nature. Their 11-member crews, some currently deployed to bases near Afghanistan, broadcast messages of friendship to the Afghan people — and promises of death to the Taliban. Attorney Virginia Miller is a navigator in the 193rd. A major in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, she is also a commercial transactions specialist in the Philadelphia office of New York’s Anderson Kill & Olick. On the morning of Sept. 11, her paralegal’s screams signaled the temporary end to that life. She went to a television in time to see an airliner slam into 2 World Trade Center. “I knew no commercial pilot would make that mistake. I knew there was a terrorist attack,” says Miller, 36, an 18-year Air Force veteran. As they watched the towers burn, John Ellison, her managing partner, turned toward Miller, who has served in Bosnia, Haiti and the Persian Gulf. “I guess they are going to call you up,” he said. They did. Due to increased drilling and preparation, she billed only 120 hours in September, 40 less than the norm, and expects further decreases until she leaves for a 45-day rotation in January. On Nov. 1, she was back at work after two weeks of active duty, checking e-mail, dazed by jet lag after traveling across eight time zones. Miller was able to put off her 45-day stint because of her heavy caseload, she says. Ellison told her that the firm would continue her salary and benefits. But not all lawyer-soldiers are so fortunate. Most lose their salaries in favor of lower military pay if they are called up in what the Pentagon has said will be an activation of 50,000 reserve troops. For partners, it means a change in their lives. For associates, it can also mean drastic financial compromises. Solo practitioners face the prospect of losing their livelihoods altogether. A NEW PROFILE Jayson Spiegel, executive director of the Reserve Officers Association, says the unique nature of the current conflict has made the profile of the units being activated different from that of the Persian Gulf War. “You’re seeing a lot of military police, Coast Guard and port security,” he says. Many of those interviewed say lawyers seem to be more widely represented in such specialty units. The Pentagon says there are no statistics on lawyer reservists. Many lawyer reservists were soldiers who joined the reserves when they left for law school and thus are officers with significant military responsibility. Some firms pay the difference between a lawyer’s military salary and regular salary. Others reduce billable-hour requirements by the attorneys’ time on active duty. But most lawyers interviewed say their firms don’t have policies for long-term mobilizations. A number of lawyer reservists say they have made efforts to prepare their practices and their clients for the possibility of being called up. Many say they have tried to speed up the resolution of cases that could not be easily handled by another attorney, or with clients they don’t want to lose to other lawyers, while putting off new, complex work that they might have to drop if activated. “I have a couple of clients who are my own clients,” that she takes care of herself, says Miller. “On certain cases I’ve turned up the heat to try and get as much done as possible.” She says several courts have stayed other cases until after her 45-day rotation is over. Miller says her clients have been fairly supportive, and that none has pointed to her predicament as a reason to go to another firm. Miller’s limited duties, and the fact that she is the only active reservist in the 110-lawyer firm, made it more palatable for the managing committee to continue her salary, Ellison says — “given the enormity of the tragedy, everyone’s willing to do everything to help.” But he says that if the firm had many reservists, that would be “a different issue.” Eric M. Drake faces a starker situation. A solo practitioner in the small town of Wickliffe, Ohio, he handles domestic and criminal matters in Cuyahoga and Lake counties. Drake is also a member of Port Security Unit 309 of the U.S. Coast Guard. At 43, he has been called up four times in 12 years, serving in an undisclosed port in the Arabian Sea after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, in Haiti and in the Persian Gulf. He commands a fast and heavily armed patrol boat that is used to protect “shoreside assets,” he says. In the past two months, many of these units have been assigned to U.S. ports to protect against terrorist attacks. Of Unit 309′s six patrols, his is the only one that has yet to be called into service. There is no firm to continue Drake’s salary. Instead, he relies on increased hazard pay when activated, and minimal interest rates on credit card and mortgage payments mandated under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act. At home, he relies on his fianc�e — whom he has granted power of attorney — to use his military pay to settle bills. Drake knows lawyers who’ll take his cases when he’s called up. “Most of my clients are hoping it won’t happen,” he says. “I get phone calls on a routine basis from clients wondering if I’m still in the country.” Drake expects to lose clients, especially in divorce and criminal cases where “they just want to get it over with.” When he has returned from duty before, he says “it’s almost been like opening a new practice.” Two days a week, patent lawyer Ted Wood gets up at 2 a.m. so he can be at his Washington, D.C., office at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox by 3 a.m. He works there until 6 a.m., then takes the D.C. Metro across the Potomac to the Pentagon, where he serves in his capacity as an Air Force lieutenant colonel. His office there was destroyed in the Sept. 11 fire, and he now works in space set aside for the Air Force Test & Evaluation office. As chief engineer for the Foreign Material Program, Wood makes sure that Air Force pilots and their planes are prepared for all Taliban antiaircraft systems. “I was in the Air Force 20 years, but I’m a relatively new attorney,” says Wood, 42, who graduated in 1998. “When I’m at the Pentagon, I feel like I’m at home.” He returns to Sterne Kessler in the afternoon and works until 7 p.m., when he goes home, helps his son with his homework — and collapses. Though his firm is counting his time at the Pentagon toward his quota of billable hours, Wood says, he does not have the luxury of scaling back his work. “I’m pulling the hours to keep things flowing on my docket so people don’t have to step in and take my work for me,” he says. “My goal is to make my absence from the firm office as transparent as possible.” In October, commercial litigator Craig V. Richardson, 40, a shareholder in the Denver office of Greenberg Traurig, said that if he was activated in his capacity as a lieutenant commander for the Navy, his family would be in bad financial straits, as his military salary is only 15 percent of his normal pay. An intelligence officer for the U.S. Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, he was activated on Oct. 25. But he says his firm has been “supportive and generous,” though he declines to be specific. BELT TIGHTENING Douglas Griffith’s wife, Susanna, was due for a new car, he says. But now that he may be called up, the associate at Los Angeles’ Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker says that he and his wife, an associate at O’Melveny & Myers, are already tightening their belts. A Marine lieutenant colonel, Griffith, 39, pilots attack helicopters and saw battle in the Persian Gulf War, flying in SuperCobra attack helicopters to cover a tank advance into Kuwait. He joined the Marines after graduating from the University of Texas in 1984, and was eventually assigned to Camp Pendleton in California, from which he was deployed overseas to Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Philippines. After seven years, however, he moved over to reserve status in 1992 and attended Loyola Law School’s night program. Now a general litigator who specializes in aviation law, Griffith has been keeping a running memo of all of his work so that, if he gets the call, he can bring other associates up to speed without wasting time and overbilling clients. Though it is conventional wisdom that clients are more aware of the partner and not the associates who work for him, many associates note that clients can be indirectly affected by an associate’s activation if they were responsible for a particularly complex issue. “I make sure with the partners that there are certain litigation activities that maybe should be accomplished sooner than they otherwise would in contemplation of me maybe being gone,” says Griffith. “I may not have the luxury to sit down with people who might take over my caseload.” Despite being a two-lawyer household, the Griffiths and their son, John, 4, would suffer a major economic blow if Douglas was called up. “Between the mortgage and the regular expenses, of having a child and a nanny and day care, we have certainly had to put together some contingency budgets,” he says. Susanna Griffith says they closed on their house in August, and because both are recent law school graduates, they still have student loan debt. Activation would mean not being able to afford a nanny anymore, Susanna Griffith says, “which means I would have to cut back on my hours as well … “ “We might have to import some grandparents,” suggests Douglas Griffith. “My mother … has already been put on notice of possible activation.”

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