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PILLSBURY PARTNERS GO CRAZY IN FOOD DRIVE CHALLENGE Holiday food drives weren’t much of a hit at Pillsbury Winthrop’s Silicon Valley office when they were just another charity event. But make food collecting a contest, with naturally competitive lawyers pitting against one another, and the result is something quite different. Pillsbury’s Palo Alto office this year collected several thousand pounds of food, mostly peanut butter, beans, canned soup, tuna fish and macaroni, to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo. The brainchild of senior facilities coordinator Lisa Da Rosa, the food drive generated so many donations that the firm’s office was littered with cans and bags by the end of the weeklong drive, which wrapped up Nov. 15. During the week before Thanksgiving, the first-floor lawyers and staff squared off against those who work on the second floor in a bet over which group could bring in the most food. In anticipation of the Big Game, held Nov. 23, the first-floor lawyers named their team after the UC-Berkeley Golden Bears football team while the second floor chose to be the Stanford Cardinal. But if that weren’t enough to spark some excitement, individual lawyers teamed up for side challenges to match the donations of a given food. Monday it was macaroni, Tuesday it was tuna, on Wednesday the theme was Americana soup, Thursday was peanut butter and Friday was beans. In some cases, the price of betting to match was extreme. Two lawyers bet they would triple the amount of peanut butter donated during a six-hour period and ended up having to buy 1,000 pounds of the sticky stuff. Even clients got into the spirit. When Tom Moore, the CEO of a Pillsbury client in the office for a deposition, returned for his second day of testimony, he did so loaded down with peanut butter. William Abrams, a second-floor partner who led his team to win the floor challenge — even if the Cardinal got trounced on the field — said the food drive was energized by the competition. “It was just remarkable,” Abrams said. “People got into the spirit.” Next year, the firm hopes to expand the contest to include other law firm offices in Silicon Valley. “We’re going to challenge the other firms around us instead of fighting among ourselves,” Abrams said. – Renee Deger ALL IN THE FAMILY Famed criminal defense attorney Penelope “Penny” Cooper’s nephews are keeping the legal practice in the family. Emeryville’s Cooper, Arguedas & Cassman had been home to name partner Penny Cooper for two decades before she retired in 2001. It had also played host to two other attorneys from the Cooper clan: Colin Cooper, a criminal defense attorney who had been with Cooper, Arguedas since 1989, and Kellin Cooper, a former Solano County public defender who joined the firm in 2000. This year, Colin and Kellin struck off to do their “own thing” in Berkeley, said Colin. Penny Cooper’s former law partners, Ted Cassman and Cristina Arguedas, primarily do white-collar crime, whereas he and his relatives did garden-variety criminal work, Colin explained. Aunt Penny, who says she is “semi-retired” — she did a murder trial with Kellin this year and is a consultant — is an of counsel at the firm. She is thrilled about the office that the lawyers have at 800 Jones St. in Berkeley, which is decorated with pieces from her art collection. A little name recognition, the legendary trial attorney says, won’t hurt the firm either. “It is always difficult to leave a career that has been so fantastic,” said Cooper of her semi-retirement. But, she says, the departure is a little easier knowing a new generation has taken up the torch. “I am totally dedicated to them,” she said “I am just really happy to see it go on.” Meanwhile, Cooper’s former law partners, Arguedas and Cassman, have added a new name to their letterhead — partner Laurel Headley, a complex white-collar crime specialist who has been with the firm for 10 years. The new firm name is Arguedas, Cassman & Headley, Cassman said. – Jahna Berry ON THE ROAD AGAIN It may not have the inherent appeal of a traveling circus, but in this age of accounting shenanigans, the American Bar Association’s traveling task force on corporate responsibility drew an impressive turnout when it pitched its tent in the Bay Area. More than a dozen lawyers of various stripes reported to the Stanford Law School campus to testify in front of the task force. Among the attendees were former U.S. District Court Judge Charles Renfrew, Boalt Hall School of Law Professor Stephen Bundy and Pillsbury Winthrop partner Michael Halloran. All were on hand to provide their two cents on the roles of lawyers within public corporations and to comment on the task force’s preliminary recommendations to amend its model rules of professional conduct. “I think it’s important that the bar association not have its members look like they’re participants in these corporate frauds,” said Halloran, who presented his half-hour testimony before the 13-member task force panel and fielded questions for another 30 minutes. One issue Halloran addressed at the hearing was his support for ethics rules requiring attorneys to report legal violations directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission — if they cannot get them addressed within the corporation. “The question is if we can continue to have a regime where the lawyers are stone silent,” said Halloran. Coming on the heels of hearings in New York and Chicago, the Stanford hearings were the third and final public comment period. The task force is expected to issue a final report based on the hearings to the ABA’s house of delegates in March. – Alexei Oreskovic

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