One former lawyer had plenty to smile about
In an all-lawyer showdown in Texas, Morgan Lewis & Bockius litigation partner Ted Cruz claimed an easy victory over Democrat lawyer Paul Sadler - who previously worked with the Wind Coalition energy advocacy group - to claim a seat in the Senate. Mr Cruz won 57 per cent of the vote in the staunchly Republican state – slightly less than presidential nominee Mitt Romney – and becomes the first Hispanic to a Senate seat for the Lone Star State, reports the Am Law Daily.
First gay senator
Elsewhere, former Akin Gump health care partner Tommy Thompson – who is also a former Wisconsin governor – lost a tight race that saw Democrat congresswoman Tammy Baldwin become the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.
Pete Hoesktra, a senior adviser at Washington DC-based law firm Dickstein Shapiro, suffered a blow as another Senate seat went to the Democrats in Michigan. Well-funded Senator Debbie Stabenow easily saw off the challenge of the former Republican congressman.
In the race for House of Representatives seats, two New York Democrat candidates with legal connections pulled off against-the-odds victories, as Orrick Herrington & Sytcliffe energy partner Sean Maloney edged out a darling of the Tea Party and incumbent Nan Hayworth, while Dan Maffei – a senior advisor with Manatt Phelps & Phillips -- unseated Republican Ann Marie Buerkle.
Election night also saw states voting on historic measures likely soon to be contested at the federal level by the country’s Justice Department.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that three states -- Maine, Maryland and Washington -- voted to allow same-sex marriage.
‘I would guess that 50 years from now, the high school civics books will treat 6 November 2012 as a red-letter day in the history of the gay rights movement,’ said Michael Klarman, a law professor and historian at Harvard.
Washington and Colorado voters also approved the legalisation of marijuana for recreational use. Those aged 21 and above will be able to buy up to one ounce of the drug from licensed retailers in Washington, while Colorado will allow possession of an ounce and the growing of as many as six plants in private.
Meanwhile, Thompson Reuters reports that small law firms on the US’ eastern seaboard are struggling to resume normal operations following the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last week.
Although many larger firms are back to near normal, smaller firms without satellite offices or off-site computer servers are suffering from a range of problems -- not least issues involving document retrieval and staff morale.
Anna Valentini -- a sole principal immigration law specialist – was unable to work from her office for a week, and had to spend around $400 on communications and other expenses.
‘If you're a solo attorney working with people with modest means, it's actually a hard hit,’ said Ms Valentini. ‘I'm worried about the survival of my law firm.’