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For much of their legal careers, David Boies and Ted Olson have represented big business, often finding themselves on opposite sides of the counsel table, as they did in the Bush v. Gore case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In recent years, though, they’ve teamed up on larger causes — taking California’s Proposition 8 case to the U.S. Supreme Court, for example.

Saving state courts from going over their own fiscal cliff has been another cause. In the short video below, they talk about what’s at stake.

Said Boies:  ”The costs that are imposed on business and the rest of society, as a result of these cutbacks, are overwhelmingly larger — 10, 15, 20, 30 times more costs than you’re saving. And when you’re cutting a million dollars, but costing the economy fifteen or twenty-five million, everybody can see that that is not a sensible cut.”

Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Proposition 8 marriage equality case the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to  hear today,  took close to four years to wind its way through the federal courts.

Chris Dusseault, a partner with Gibson Dunn in Los Angeles who typically handles business cases, found himself at the center of that case, acting as a field director before trial and working with the all-star team put together by David Boies and Ted Olson on behalf of the named couples.  It was the legal experience of a lifetime, he says, not only because of the talent working with him but also because of personal and fundamental rights involved:

“In the weeks before trial it hit me what a powerful story this was going to be . . . . . I looked at the testimony of the four plaintiffs and the powerful things they had to say about discrimination, and then I turned to the experts. We had really the top scholars from throughout the world, who had spent their whole lives just study­ing specific fields — the study of relation­ships, the study of the history of marriage, the study of discrimination against gays and lesbians, the study of political power, all of which were relevant to the issues before the court — and it brought home to me what an educational moment this was.”

Read more about his transformative experience here.