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Terrorists, as three young Australian lawyers at New York-based Shearman & Sterling can attest, will strike anybody at any time anywhere in the world. On that terrible September morning last year, Tania A. Mattei rushed to the windows of her lower Manhattan apartment — within blocks of the former World Trade Center — to see and hear the exploding fireball of the second hijacked plane. “The unthinkable happens,” said Mattei, 31, a graduate of the University of Melbourne Faculty of Law. In the aftermath, her countrymen and Shearman colleagues Simon Fraser and Warwick A. Mancini helped victims with legal needs, and rescue workers at ground zero in need of food and drink. Then came last month’s terrorism in Bali, Indonesia — the bombing of a nightclub popular with young Australians, in the way that young Americans flock to the Mexican resort of Canc�n. Eighty Australians died in Bali, another 80 suffered injuries. None were personally known to the three Shearman attorneys. “But we had to do something,” said Mancini, 30, a graduate of the University of Sydney Faculty of Law. “I approached Simon, who works two doors down from me, and we just basically started working with the [New York] Australian consulate general’s office.” As Fraser and Mancini worked with the Australian government — and the Red Cross organizations of Australia and the U.S. — Mattei took charge of internal legal tasks, drawing on resources at Shearman, which has about 20 Australian lawyers in New York alone. The result is the Australia Bali Relief Fund, established “in the spirit of mateship and mutual support that binds Australia and the United States,” as Mancini put it. Last Tuesday night, the effort was boosted by the “Benefit for Bali” concert in The Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center. Headliners were disco legend Gloria Gaynor, the Australian rock band INXS, American musicians Jill Gioia and Jeffrey Gaines, and Australian singer-songwriter Hugh Wilson. “We’ve become quite the music and entertainment group here,” said Mancini, like his colleagues an associate in Shearman’s mergers & acquisitions department. Despite the department’s heavy workload during the weeks between the Bali bombing and last Tuesday’s concert, M&A partner Peter D. Lyons gave a green light to his young lawyers’ emergency pro bono project. “They had a lot of compassion,” said Lyons. “And they needed to help out. We’re quite proud of the way they stepped up to this.” Lyons did some stepping up of his own. He wrote a personal check for $1,500 worth of concert tickets, never mind that INXS and Gloria Gaynor rang no bells for him. “I didn’t go to the concert myself,” said Lyons, who gave away his tickets to associates in his department. “I’m sort of an old fart.” As for Fraser, 33, a graduate of the University of Western Australia Faculty of Law in Perth, an old lesson of irony was learned. “The worst of humanity,” said Fraser, “brings out the best of humanity.”

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