The Post-Gazette today introduced a new feature, Ipso Facto, the "news crossroads of Western Pennsylvania's legal community."
Ipso Fact omitted mention of one of the most fascinating recent developments at Pittsburgh's bar, however, despite the story's location right under the Post-Gazetteers' noses.
When Pittsburgh mayors from Sophie Masloff to Luke Ravenstahl have required an authority board member, a solicitor, an advisor or a spokesman, they have frequently engaged Frederick Frank (left), a prominent and esteemed lawyer.
When Mayor Ravenstahl sought to pave a path on which he could steer InsolvenCity toward his Great Pittsburgh Parking Garage Sale, for example, Mr. Frank provided a handy and timely legal opinion that stiff-armed competing proposals.
When former mayor Sophie Masloff visited City Council recently to promote the mayor's parking plan, one council member recounted her insightful private pitch: "I'm going to scratch yer eyes aht if you don't vote for Fred Frank's plan."
Mr. Frank's positions along Pittsburgh's public-private interface establish him as a firmly embedded insider -- and therefore a curious candidate to represent the leading newspaper that covers that interface.
Newsroom sources nevertheless report that Mr. Frank has added the Post-Gazette to his roster of clients, perhaps as successor to first-rate media lawyer Tom McGough (right) and Reed Smith, the P-G's longtime law firm. (Mr. Frank's website identifies his areas of practice as family law, campaign finance, government relations and appellate practice; there is no apparent record of experience representing a newspaper.)
A newspaper whose news columns report on the city administration and whose editorial pages advocate for a controversial (and apparently senseless) parking deal hires a lawyer who represents or directs city agencies, advises elected officials and is hip-deep in the current parking controvery? This appears to constitute news (and quite a professional plum for Mr. Frank), even if no newspaper is prepared to report it.
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