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Special 9/11 Commentary from the Editor:

Shortly before going to press with this issue, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were attacked and destroyed, and the Pentagon was damaged. The Bar Rag is not a publication that focuses on world events, but the staff and members of the Bar Rag felt moved by this tragedy, as have all Americans.

We do note that the attack was as much a symbolic attack on our shared values, such as freedom of speech and expression, or our tolerance for opposing religious and political views, as it was an attack on some buildings and the people therein. In this regard, all of us, as attorneys, judges or other legal professionals, play a vital role in preserving and enhancing the freedoms we enjoy. No one can seriously dispute that our unparalleled economic prosperity, and the high standard of living most Americans enjoy, is directly related to a legal system that is fair and respectful of individual rights, whether they are contract rights, the right to compensation for injuries, or the right to a fair trial when the government has accused an individual of a crime. Americans fought for the right to be judged by our neighbors through a jury, not by a nameless government employee or administrative panel comprised of political ideologues. These are core values, and no amount of suicide bombers can threaten these values.

The real threat to these values comes not from the Middle East or some other part of the world, but from our internal response to such aggression. How we act when we are threatened is more of a test of our values than how we act in peace and prosperity. When it comes to protecting our fundamental values, only we can really hurt ourselves.

Thomas Van Flein


WTC Disaster Displaces 14,000 New York Lawyers
More than 14,000 New York lawyers have not been able to get to their offices since a terrorist attack obliterated the twin World Trade Center towers Tuesday, according to data released by the Office of Court Administration Sept. 13.
OCA also reported that 1,343 lawyers had listed one of the two destroyed towers as their office address in their registration records.

The OCA data, which was based upon a search of OCA registration records for lawyers who listed office addresses below 14th Street, revealed a staggering amount of disruption in the ability of lawyers to function. The 14,000 displaced lawyers make up 10.3 percent of attorneys in the state and 19 percent of the lawyers in New York City.

A previous check with several of the largest firms with offices at 1 and 2 World Trade Center revealed only a few lawyers missing, perhaps because many lawyers do not begin their work days until after 9:30 a.m. The second plane slammed into 2 World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. (The second tower was struck at 9:18 a.m.) The OCA also reported that three court officers who rushed to the disaster scene immediately after the attack are missing

From The New York Law Journal, Sept. 14, 2001, by Daniel Wise

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