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What is Jim Walden’s Angle?

April 19, 2011

Photo courtesy Noa Cortes

Thought I’d pull this one from the comments

In case you were wondering what a lawyer like Jim Walden of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is doing taking on a pro bono case of dubious legal merit to remove a highly successful and popular bike lane, Crain’s Insider offered a theory on Friday:

Jim Walden’s spate of high-profile pro bono lawsuits has insiders speculating that he wants to challenge Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes. Walden, a Brooklyn Heights resident and litigator at Gibson Dunn, is battling a development in Dumbo, the Prospect Park West bike lane, judges in Queens who allegedly discriminate against disabled people and discrimination against a transgender employee. But Walden said, “I love Joe Hynes. I will never run against him.” Hynes told the Insider he will run for re-election in 2013. Walden has been on a media blitz reminiscent of Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is thought to have considered pushing him for U.S. attorney in 2009. Schumer’s wife, Iris Weinshall, is a leading opponent of the bike lane.

While I’m not so naive as to think it doesn’t happen in every office across the city, I’m not sure Brooklyn needs someone in its top legal job with a seeming proclivity for trading in political favors, especially with the wealthy and politically connected.  Some of Walden’s pro bono work is admirable, but attaching himself to Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes has certainly gotten him more ink than representing disabled people fighting for their Social Security benefits.  That’s the sad state of our media these days, I guess.

Even when the PPW case is long behind him, I think his involvement in it should be a major strike against him and a frequent campaign issue.

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