If you don't see images, click here to view
Story Ideas  Events 

To ensure delivery, please add newsletter@bisnow.com to your address book, learn how
Legal Bisnow
Real EstateTechAssociationMedicalThe SceneWomen
    November 4, 2008  


If we’ve got another Bush v. Gore headed our way (perish the thought), the first signs will probably be spotted by Election Protection, a non-partisan coalition of over 100 groups assembled to protect voter rights, spearheaded by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Yesterday we headed out to the front lines of the effort—at the national Election Protection headquarters at DLA Piper.


National pro bono partner Lisa Dewey and counsel Bert Ritvo hosted us at the 30‑station call center, where volunteers from various firms are manning the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline in four-hour shifts (they went 12 hours yesterday and go from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. today). The Lawyers Committee has answered more than 40,000 calls on the hotline at its New York Ave. location since mid-August, and yesterday piped the calls out to regional sites and national HQ. Good thing, since yesterday alone the hotline had gotten 20,000 calls by 4:00 p.m. Those big video boards in the back could well make Wolf Blitzer drool.


Scott Lyons was the Lawyers’ Committee’s national hotline manager in ’04, and though he’s now deputy director of programs at the American Society of International Law, he’s back on loan to help coordinate this year’s effort. Some issues that cropped up yesterday: Florida residents who didn’t receive absentee ballots (oh no, not Florida . . .); deceptive live and robocalls directing voters to the wrong polling stations; and numerous Rock The Vote voter registrations failing to get recorded, especially in New York.


Jessica Smith, communications director for Jim Webb (D-VA), volunteered part of her afternoon to answer calls (most of them, thankfully, simple inquiries of “Am I registered?” and “Where do I go to vote?”). Behind her, Amanda Pugh, fall starter at Nixon Peabody and Sarah Crawford, and employment discrimination specialist with the Lawyer’s Committee. DLA Piper offices in other cities (San Diego, Chicago, Philly, and Raleigh) served as regional call centers, and all told 200 firm personnel were involved in the effort. Now they are crossing their fingers they have nothing to do today.

Election Protection: Local Edition

A similar scene was playing out yesterday at Reed Smith, where we briefly stole this trio away from voter questions—John Malloy, who supervised Election Protection’s pre-election day call center, the Lawyers’ Committee’s Carol Wolchok, and Reed Smith pro bono committee chair Steve Murphy, who volunteered on the phones at Skadden during the last cycle. Reed Smith is handling calls for DC, Maryland, and Virginia; they had 46 buzzing lines hooked up when we stopped in. Nifty Bisnow factoid: John tells us that the hi-tech hotline can tell that you’re calling from, say, Virginia, even if you’re dialing on a cell phone with an out-of-Commonwealth area code.


The firm did a check of the phone systems on Friday, and yesterday was considered a dress rehersal for today. We assume they’ll all be looking their best then, when a documentary film crew is slated to peek in on the action. From right: Reed Smith health care associate and deputy pro bono coordinator Kevin Madigan, Rob Randhava of coalition partner Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (the “C” on his shirt means he’s a captain equipped to handle difficult questions), and Hank Gassner, who got his law degree at 65 after retiring from the World Bank. Hank worked briefly at Rose & Rose, but chipping in on the hotline had him thinking about putting that JD to use again. Anyone need a worldly wise lateral associate?

Best Halloween Costume Goes To . . .

We asked readers to submit pics of your Halloween costumes, and although we expected only human varieties, this won us over for its canine take on “Joe Six Pack.” We saved it for today for thematic purposes—and though the little guy has tipped his hand as to who he’s backing, our selection is based on charm, not politics. If you’re wondering, “Tchotchke” is the pet of Stacey Viera from the club Pure—evidently, we have all kinds of readers.

John Ford, Bisnow’s Legal Editor, will be standing in line to vote so could have lots of time to read your story ideas: john@bisnow.com.

Cardinal Bank
Goulston & Storrs
Board of Trade
Advertise With Bisnow

This newsletter is a journalistic news source which accepts no payment for featured interviews. It is supported by conventional advertisers clearly identified in the right hand column. You have been selected to receive it either through prior contact or professional association. If you have received it in error, please accept our apologies and unsubscribe below. © 2008, Bisnow on Business, Inc., 1323 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, DC 20036. All rights reserved.

Zegna Adrian Jules Dormeuil email Legal Bisnow Sent Using iContact