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YOUR NAME HERE: MANATT GETS FREEWAY SIGNAGE David Herbst just wanted a sign. It’s been nearly four years since his boutique, Wise & Shepard, merged with Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and still there’s no sign outside his building on Page Mill Road. So Herbst, the managing partner of Manatt’s Palo Alto office, settled for a sign next to the freeway. And so far, the firm’s Adopt-A-Highway sign is the only one in the Valley emblazoned with Manatt’s name. “Putting the sign up along the freeway was kind of our way of saying we’re part of the community,” Herbst said. The firm, whose name adorns an office tower in L.A., wants greater name recognition in the Valley. And the lack of it is a frustration for Herbst, who has practiced in Silicon Valley for some 25 years. He was a partner at Wise & Shepard when it merged with Manatt in 1999. Manatt isn’t the only firm to take to the highways as part of the California Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway. Bingham McCutchen and Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian also sponsor stretches of I-280. Manatt jockeyed for the two-mile stretch of southbound I-280 near the exit for Sand Hill Road. That was so venture capitalists would get a dose of the firm name on their way to work along the famous boulevard. Gunderson had the same idea and it had already claimed the northbound stretch of I-280 near the exit. Bingham’s stretch is a few miles south of Gunderson’s. Under the program, firms can opt to pay to remove litter, plant flowers or trees or maintain the vegetation along certain stretches of roadway. They typically pay about $200 per month for the right to advertise along the road, plus the additional fees to companies that actually perform the labor. On I-280, Manatt could only adopt a vegetation maintenance program, so it pays a company to clear weeds and trim the grass. Herbst is happy to pay if it means the firm’s name is out there. Manatt is also on a waiting list for an OK from Caltrans to adopt a section of Highway 101 near University Avenue. But for now, he just wants to get a sign in front of his building. He recently won a promise that it will be installed by late April. “We’ve been sign-challenged,” Herbst said. “We beautify the highway to get some visibility.” — Renee Deger NEWARK DREAMIN’ Just as California has its own Venice, Dublin and Albany, it also claims its own Newark. While the Garden State original is home to Tony Soprano and busy Newark Liberty International Airport, the Golden State’s Newark boasts the giant Cargill mountain of salt familiar to Bay Area commuters, and now, three patron saints from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. The three attorneys received an official commendation by Newark Mayor David Smith last month for their pro bono legal work on behalf of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. The trio, consisting of partner Sheldon Siegel, special counsel David Lanferman and associate Gene Takagi, helped the chamber update its various legal documents, many of which dated back to the 1950s. Newark’s Chamber of Commerce was also in a bit of disarray in the wake of its former executive director’s grand theft embezzlement indictment. “Because of those financial irregularities and some of the alleged shenanigans of the executive director, they found themselves in need of some sophisticated legal help to undo some legal changes in the bylaws that the executive director had ramrodded through,” said Newark City Attorney Gary Galliano. The 42,764-person city of Newark also named as its 2003 commendees a youngster who made Eagle Scout and a newspaper delivery person who alerted the fire department to a smoking building. — Alexei Oreskovic CAREER CHOICES Professor Clark Kelso is easier to catch on his cell phone than during one of the rare free minutes in his McGeorge School of Law office in Sacramento. He might be advising the Judicial Council, consulting the attorney general’s office, talking to the media or performing his duties as the state chief information technology officer. If this week goes well for him, he’ll have to give up most of that. But that doesn’t mean his life would slow down. Kelso is one of three candidates vying to become president of California State University, Sacramento. If he’s selected to lead the school, Kelso said he would give up his position at McGeorge, where he directs the Capital Center for Government Law and Policy, and also leave his state job. “If I could do both, I would,” Kelso said. “But that’s just not the way this one is.” Kelso said he would continue serving on task forces and taking on other light duties. He doesn’t want people to interpret his application to mean he’s unhappy at McGeorge. It has more to do “with my admiration for the position that CSUS has in the Sacramento region and state,” he said. Kelso is competing with two other candidates to replace Donald Gerth, who has served as president since 1984. They are Alexander Gonzalez, who is president of CSU-San Marcos, and Karen Haynes, who leads the University of Houston in Victoria, Texas. An announcement from the university’s Board of Trustees could come this week. CSU presidents earn between $188,000 and $250,000 and also get housing or a housing stipend. Gerth’s salary is $235,908. The board of trustees will announce the new president’s pay in May. — Jeff Chorney EXPERTISE Laid-off Oakland Deputy City Attorney Claudia Leed quickly found a job with a familiar company. The veteran lawyer advised the Oakland Police Department on civil litigation that stemmed from the Riders police misconduct scandal. She was also one of five staff attorneys handed pinks slips last month. At the time, council members told City Attorney John Russo to shave $500,000 from his budget to help the city avoid a looming budget deficit. Leed was quickly embraced by Burnham Brown, an Oakland firm that represents one of the OPD supervisors named in the federal suit. “When I learned that she was available, I called her almost immediately,” said Burnham Brown partner John Verber. Among other things Verber represents officers when the city attorney’s office has a conflict. Leed could not be reached for comment. The ex-deputy city attorney will come on as a senior associate and will do municipal work and complex litigation, Verber said. Leed will not handle Riders work because of conflicts issues, the lawyer said. “She will be a real asset,” said Verber, adding that Leed will start in April. — Jahna Berry

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