- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2000

The National Law Journal takes the occasion of its triennial list of the 100 most influential lawyers in America to settle an old score with Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. Senate candidate formerly known as first lady. Mrs. Clinton, it seems, is touting herself as having been chosen "one of the Top 100 Lawyers in America" in a prior National Law Journal list, presumably in an effort to spiff up her credentials for holding elected office in the state of New York. This rankles National Law Journal editor Patrick Oster, who, in his preface to this year's list of legal powerhouses, digresses from his introduction to correct the record.
"She [Mrs. Clinton] brags she was once chosen as one of the 100 'top' lawyers in the country," Mr. Oster writes. "One might question the wisdom of bringing up some of the reasons for her inclusion: her connection with the Rose Law Firm, whose billing records she famously misplaced, or her being a director on the board of notoriously anti-union Wal-Mart. But our quibble is with her use of the word 'top'."
"To us, that implies 'best' or 'smartest,' but Ms. Clinton was instead rated one of the most 'influential' lawyers, which we equate more with the notion of power or impact, in a section we subtitle, 'Profiles in Power.' (Her Web site also says that it was our sister publication, The American Lawyer magazine, that honored her; as they say at the White House, 'Mistakes were made.') "
My, my. Sounds like it was pure relief to get that off his chest. Mr. Oster, of course, should remember that Mrs. Clinton's apparent confusion probably all depends on what the meaning of "top" is. Still, that Mrs. Clinton mentions her legal career at all on her campaign Web site is remarkable, given, as Mr. Oster notes, her adventures as a partner at the Rose Law Firm. These recently made news again with the revelation in a new book, "Truth at Any Cost," by The Washington Post's Susan Schmidt and Time magazine's Michael Weisskopf, that it was only the unexpected death of Jim McDougal that saved Mrs. Clinton from being indicted by the Independent Counsel for false statements and obstructing government investigators in connection with her lawyerly role in the notorious Castle Grande project, the truth of which came to light with the still unexplained "discovery" of Mrs. Clinton's missing billing records. But, as the Clinton White House likes to say, that is an old story. Times are different, and so is Hillary, or is she?
Take the latest "news" on Mrs. Clinton's campaign Web site concerning her appearance the recent Sunday's Salute to Israel Parade in New York City. On the ground in Manhattan, it was not a pretty sight; Mrs. Clinton was repeatedly heckled and booed as she passed along the parade route. The newspapers were full of news of the event: "Israel parade's no walk in the park for Hill" headlined the New York Daily News. "The animosity felt by some in the crowd toward Mrs. Clinton was evident on nearly every block," reported the New York Times. According to the Clinton campaign Web site, however, it was "a day spent celebrating cultural diversity" during which "Hillary drew loud cheers from supporters …" Which, of course, is just how a "top" lawyer would put it.

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