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Stunned by Tuesday’s terrorist attacks that brought down New York’s twin World Trade Center towers and devastated the Pentagon, San Francisco officials shut down the vulnerable Civic Center region, home to numerous court offices, while the state capitol evacuated, and major law firms closed offices in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C. The San Francisco Bay Area braced for the worst on Tuesday. Stunned by terrorist attacks that brought down New York’s twin World Trade Center towers and devastated the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., San Francisco officials completely shut down the highly vulnerable Civic Center region. Home to City Hall, the California Supreme Court, the First District Court of Appeal and the Federal Building, the Civic Center area was void of traffic and populated only by handfuls of pedestrians. Tuesday’s calendar in the federal courts was canceled and calls to several judges’ chambers went unanswered. Police on horseback patrolled deserted streets as all major government buildings were closed by order of California Gov. Gray Davis. Members of the state supreme court and the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts moved from the 455 Golden Gate Ave. side of their building to the 350 McAllister St. side to avoid proximity to the Federal Building. “A lot of folks reported for work,” AOC Communications Manager James Carroll said, “and then the governor’s announcement came out.” The California Culinary Academy, kitty-corner to the Federal Building, canceled all classes for the same reason that the AOC moved south. Anxious law enforcement officers hustled people away. All streets around the Civic Center were closed from Van Ness Avenue on the west to Leavenworth Street on the east and from Hayes Street on the south to Turk Street on the north. Outside the supreme court building, a court employee who requested anonymity was frustrated because security wouldn’t let him inside even though he was considered essential personnel and had been called to work. “What I worry about is being across the street from the Federal Building,” he said. “And I’m also concerned about the copycat mentality of someone wanting to take advantage of a grim situation.” Ronald Quidachay, presiding judge of the San Francisco Superior Court — located at McAllister and Polk Streets — closed all courts and sent personnel home “for precautionary reasons.” He arrived at 7:45 a.m. and soon realized his judges would not be conducting business. Quidachay said he’s not sure when the courts will reopen. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which is charged with security for the courts, moved the bail processing operation from Room 201 to County Jail 9, the newest city jail on Seventh Street. In addition, inmates in city jails were excused from normal programs, such as alcohol and drug-abuse sessions. “We’re letting everyone watch television,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said. She also noted that patrols have been heightened around the Civic Center courthouse. At the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, meanwhile, judges went about hearing appeals. In Sacramento, the state Capitol was evacuated and all state and federal offices, buildings and facilities were shut down. The governor and his staff relocated to California Highway Patrol offices in West Sacramento. Already on high alert from a truck attack on the Sacramento Capitol earlier this year, CHP officers surrounded the building with their vehicles, turning away anyone who tried to enter. Senate President Pro Tem John Burton said the Senate would reconvene today. At the California Attorney General’s office, spokesman Nathan Barankan said everyone except sworn law enforcement personnel and essential employees were told to take the day off. Staying open though was the Sacramento County Courthouse, which beefed up security around the perimeter of the building. In the East Bay, city offices remained open, and federal employees were filing in to work at 8 a.m. However, some streets around the city’s two-towered federal building were closed. Alameda County Superior Court closed, but courthouses in Martinez in Contra Costa County remained open. “We have been in contact with [Chief Justice Ronald George],” Contra Costa Presiding Judge Garrett Grant said. “For now, we will stay open.” University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law remained open, but University of California Hastings College of the Law canceled its classes by midmorning. Stanford Law School, Golden Gate University School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law and Santa Clara University School of Law closed. Practising Law Institute has postponed all its classes this week in San Francisco and New York except for a class on the patent bar exam in New York. Golden Gate University School of Law cancelled classes over the objections of Dean Peter Keane, who said the shutdown played into the hands of the terrorists. “The whole point was to disrupt the country,” Keane said. “There’s no basis here for us to be disrupted. We’re not a target.” He said he would continue work as normal. Calling from her Los Angeles home, State Bar President Karen Nobumoto noted that all four doomed flights were headed to either L.A. or San Francisco. Many of the passengers on those planes, she said, could have been lawyers. Nobumoto, who took over as president only Saturday, said she plans to organize the Bar to see if there’s anything that can be done, especially if California lawyers were on board the planes or at the crash sites. “I want to respond to the families if in fact there are people who have family on those flights,” she said. “That’s been my first thought.” The State Bar offices in both San Francisco and L.A. were closed immediately Tuesday for fear of being targets, what with the San Francisco office being in the downtown high-rise district and the L.A. office being in a stand-alone tower near the Staples Center. Bay Area firms closed their outposts in both Washington and New York, as well as many of their home offices in the Bay Area. Among those closing New York and D.C. offices were Morrison & Foerster and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe closed all 11 of its U.S. offices. MoFo also closed its Denver office, and its administrative office at 345 California St., which is near the Transamerica building, another possible high-profile target. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s midtown Manhattan office stayed open. “We have permitted staff to go home if they feel they are able to do so safely,” spokeswoman Diane Iselin said. Stranded in Boston is Matthew Powers, managing partner of Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ Silicon Valley office. He was recruiting at Harvard Law School on Monday and was at Logan International Airport ready to return home when all flights were grounded. Terri Solomon, a partner in the New York office of Littler Mendelson, said that some of the staff who made it into work were still holed up in the firm’s midtown office by early afternoon. “There are a lot of people who didn’t get in because the trains were not running. Some people decided to stay because it was just as safe in the office as outside,” she said. “I don’t even want to think about the number of people I might know in the World Trade Center.” Littler Mendelson closed all 31 of its offices nationwide. Joan Zoloth, a Littler spokeswoman, said staff in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office also decided to stay out the day at work since traffic in the capital was at a standstill. O’Melveny & Myers closed its San Francisco office but left its Menlo Park, Calif., office open. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher closed all its offices except the one in Palo Alto, Calif. Gordon & Rees kept its San Francisco headquarters office at the 275 Battery St. high-rise open but told staff they could go home if they felt uncomfortable. By midday Tuesday, firms were reporting their lawyers were safe. However, a spokesperson at one firm said that with so many of its lawyers traveling, it was too soon to account for all of them. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati closed its San Francisco and Reston, Va., offices. Its New York office was also closed, but it was not damaged by the disaster. Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian reported that its New York team was likewise unhurt. Also contributing to this report were Recorder staff writers Renee Deger, Brenda Sandburg, Dennis Opatrny, Jahna Berry, Ross Hanig, Kevin Livingston and Jason Hoppin.

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