Three protesters on their way to Occupy Wall Street. Fellow New Yorkers, note the Duane Reade shopping bag.

Over the weekend, I realized that I needed some new white dress shirts. So I headed downtown to the Brooks Brothers at One Liberty Plaza here in Manhattan.

One Liberty Plaza — also the home of another white-shoe institution, the Cleary Gottlieb law firm — happens to be located across the street from Zuccotti Park, site of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Since I was going to be in the neighborhood, I decided to pay a visit to OWS, keeping an eye out for law-related angles to the event.

I brought my trusty camera and reporter’s notebook, so I could record my impressions and interview some of the protesters. What did I observe?

I’ll begin with a few general comments. For starters, the protest, which has been going on for over a month, wasn’t as large as I thought it would be. I asked myself, “This is the scene that has launched a thousand news articles? The Union Square Greenmarket is bigger.”

Here are some photos that capture the overall scene (click on any image to enlarge):

OWS reminded me of a marketplace (of ideas?).

Letting their freak flags fly?

Overworked Cleary associates can borrow sleeping bags from the folks across the street.

Is it just me, or does this woman look like Sarah Palin?

The food didn't look half-bad (although the lawyer in me wondered whether they needed a permit to dispense it).

At times it seemed that there might have been more gawkers and reporters than actual protesters. Of course, this being New York, it was sometimes hard to tell the difference between leftist protesters and native New Yorkers….

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