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Late Night FDL: So Who is That Law Firm?

ph2007012600971.jpgIn yesterday’s post on Obama and Rezko, some questions were raised about this firm and why he picked Miner, Barnhill and Galland over a “white shoe” outfit. Let’s take a look.

One of the appeals was surely the firm’s role in Chicago politics. As the Boston Globe noted:

Miner was Chicago’s corporation counsel under Harold Washington, the city’s first black mayor, in the 1980s when Washington was battling for control of the City Council against remnants of the once-mighty Machine.

Along with that political heritage, the firm itself specialized in areas of law that may have caught Obama’s interest:

"It’s a real do-good firm," says Fay Clayton, lead counsel for the National Organization for Women in a landmark lawsuit aimed at stopping abortion clinic violence.

Examples of the “do-good” activities of the firm can be seen in the list of practice areas on their website along with highlights of the cases they have been involved in but here’s an overview. There are twelve areas of specialization, one of which is the already mentioned “Real Estate/Housing Development/Non-Profits” which has three attorneys of the current 14 on staff assigned to it.

Miner is perhaps best known for their work in Civil Rights and Voting Rights, including the "Motor Voter" suit against the state that Obama initiated on behalf of ACORN — and they are currently challenging strip-searches performed by Customs agents at O’Hare Airport. Their commercial litigation team was “one of the lead plaintiffs’ firms” against Michael Milken and Drexel Burnham.

They represent workers “challenging attempts by employers to reduce or eliminate employee benefits” and they represent migrant farm workers and packinghouse employees in California with some significant class action wins to their credit. Miner also works for ACORN on class action lawsuits challenging predatory lending practices, represents whistleblowers, and one partner serves as a "Neutral" to “oversee compliance with consent decrees entered as a result of settlements of three of the largest pattern-and-practice sexual harassment cases ever brought.”

The three other areas where they work are Health Law, Personal Injury and Malpractice and Antitrust law.

Looking over the work Miner has done over the years, I almost wish I had gone to law school! For firepups who want to delve deeper into Obama’s time at Miner, the Chicago SunTimes did a detailed profile of his legal career in an article last year – and if you have uncovered any other information on the firm and Obama’s legal career, please share the links with everyone.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com