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FOR COBLENTZ LAWYERS, IT’S BYE-BYE BOCCE Some lawyers hit the golf links for sport. Others cast off from the local marina. At San Francisco’s Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, however, attorneys have long competed on the bocce court. Bocce, for the uninformed, is the Italian version of lawn bowling in which contestants lob heavy, grapefruit-sized balls as close to a marker as possible. For years, Coblentz partners, associates and staff have honed their bocce skills during lunch breaks on a professionally designed, oyster-shell-sand bocce court that sits on the firm’s Kearny Street office rooftop. But the tradition will soon come to an end, as Coblentz is moving to the Ferry Building later this month. Leaving the bocce court behind is going to be “the one regret we have,” says Managing Partner Richard Patch, whose bocce team goes by the name The Brain Dead Hurlers of Bocce. The bocce court has proven a great way for attorneys from different practices to mingle with each other and with clients, some of whom participate in the firm’s annual summer tournament, explains Patch. This year’s tournament, which features 32 teams locked in single-elimination shoot-outs, will be the grand finale. The winner will then face off against the winners of each of the previous seasons in a contest to crown the ultimate bocce champions. As for future plans, the firm’s de facto Bocce commissioner, Stephen Lanctot, says, “We’re plotting. We have a couple of thoughts, but nothing firmed out yet.” — Alexei Oreskovic DIAMONDS ARE A LAWYER’S BEST FRIEND It’s well known that lawyers often move in the fast lane of life, but now some would like the privilege of driving in the fast lane of crowded highways if late for court. A resolution coming before the newly independent Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations next month suggests that any lawyer driving alone be allowed to use the state’s high-occupancy vehicle lanes if the court has been alerted that he or she is running late because of traffic congestion. Backers say cops could verify the lawyers’ urgent need by cell phoning the court for confirmation or just checking to see if the alleged offender is wearing “tasteful attorney attire.” “Not a day goes by,” the resolution sponsored by two gay legal groups states, “without a court clerk receiving a call from an attorney stuck in heavy traffic on the 101 or the 5, whether that clerk is in Northern, Central or Southern California.” Could they really be serious? No, as it turns out. Jody Hoenninger, of co-sponsor Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, says Matthew St. George of the Los Angeles city attorney’s office dreamed up the proposal as a joke. She says the two think delegates “don’t have to take themselves so darn seriously” and wanted to have a little fun. The resolution was written realistically to make delegates’ jaws drop. But there were strong hints that it was a fake. The proposal, calling for a revision to the state Vehicle Code, says cops could use the “directional do-hickey” on attorneys’ cell phones to contact the court, or examine the offender for “attire appropriate for an appearance in court.” For men, that would be “a suit or sports coat with matching pants accompanied by a shirt and tie color-coordinated to match the shoes and socks.” For women, “a suit or dress with blouse and accompanying fashion accessories suitable for appearance in a court of law or a tasteful pants-suit of recent vintage; open-toe shoes may be permitted if they match an accompanying purse.” It’s not clear whether the conference’s resolutions committee got the joke. Its members recommended disapproval, saying the idea “not only discriminates against non-attorneys, but also against attorneys who are late for appearances and hearings in tribunals other than superior court.” The other proponent besides BALIF is the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles. The resolution is scheduled to be heard at the State Bar of California’s annual convention in Anaheim. Mike McKee GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN As Gov. Gray Davis wages the biggest battle of his political career, his legal team forges ahead feeling the loss of one of its key members. Joseph Remcho of San Leandro’s Remcho, Johansen & Purcell died in a helicopter crash eight months ago. Remcho was known as the “go-to” lawyer in Democratic politics for representing Davis and other politicians, including Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and no doubt would have played a part defending the governor against the recall. Even though Remcho is gone, the firm has stayed in the political fray. It fought against an appellate writ that sped up the secretary of state’s counting of recall petition signatures. And lawyers there also worked on a suit that state schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell had threatened to file to force the Supreme Court to break the month-long budget impasse. Partner Robin Johansen said that business-wise the firm is doing fine. But, she said, the recent work has been tough because she’s left to do matters she and Remcho normally would have worked on together. “We miss him more than I can say,” Johansen said. “Hardly a few hours go by that I don’t think about him.” – Jeff Chorney

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