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EAST BAY’S WENDEL, ROSEN GETS ITS GREEN CARD Oakland’s Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean has a new claim to fame: It’s a certified “green business.” The 55-attorney firm announced its green certification last week in conjunction with the unveiling of its newest practice, the sustainable business and natural products group. The group will counsel clients devoted to environmental sustainability on matters including Food and Drug Administration regulations, the National Organic Program and advertising laws. “We did not want to just talk the talk,” says partner Bruce Lymburn, who is heading up the new practice. “I think that it was important to establish our own credibility.” Wendel, Rosen says it believes it is the first law firm in the country to obtain green status. To earn it, the firm hired a sustainability consultant and implemented a number of changes, including switching to 100 percent recycled paper and using soy-based inks for printing projects. The certification is conferred by the Bay Area Green Business Program. According to Lymburn, the regimen will actually save the firm money, in addition to being the right thing to do environmentally. Of course, hard-core environmentalists might look askance at a “green” firm whose clients have included big real estate developers and corporations such as DuPont. For example, the firm’s Web site notes that “one of the largest basic chemical and agricultural chemical manufacturers in the world has used Wendel, Rosen attorneys with respect to CERCLA claims on numerous sites in California and Hawaii.” But Lymburn doesn’t see a contradiction. Even companies that might be stereotyped as environmentally unfriendly, he says, are rethinking the way they do business and focusing on sustainability. — Alexei Oreskovic DIVERSE TOWNSEND SEEKS MORE DIVERSITY Byron Cooper wants to build Townsend and Townsend and Crew’s name recognition. Not as an intellectual property firm — Townsend already has that distinction — but as a leader in diversity. Cooper, co-leader of the firm’s litigation group, is heading up Townsend’s new diversity committee. Formed last month, the committee will look at ways to retain minority and women lawyers and also send attorneys out to talk to various law school groups. “People may not recognize that Townsend is so diverse,” Cooper said. “I’d like to bring that up and celebrate it.” Of Townsend’s 144 attorneys, 29 are ethnic minorities. That’s 20 percent, a figure that would put Townsend on a par with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Morrison & Foerster, the two most diverse big law firms in California, according to a recent American Lawyer Media survey. Townsend also boasts 29 women in its attorney ranks. Of the firm’s 62 partners, nine are minority and six are women — or 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Cooper, an African-American, said lawyers could help expand the minority population of law firms by talking to students. Two years ago, he taught at an East Palo Alto Middle School as part of a junior achievement program. In addition to teaching business basics, he also talked to students about what it was like to be a lawyer. “With the demise of many affirmative action programs that California used to have, the private sector will have to step up and show there are opportunities out there,” Cooper said. Before law school, Cooper went through West Point Military Academy, graduating in 1986, and did a stint in the Army. He said West Point, which at the time was just beginning to bring in more women and people of color, was a difficult place for minorities. At Townsend, “I think I’ve prospered and done well because the culture fosters that,” he said. “That culture has always been here but I’d like to formalize it.” – Brenda Sandburg SELLING THE CONCEPT OF SALES Their slogan is “Redefining Rainmaking.” Some have titles within law firms like “sales director” and “client development director.” And, as of Aug. 8, they have their own professional organization. The Legal Sales and Service Organization was unveiled at the ABA’s convention in San Francisco. That’s where Catherine MacDonagh of Boston’s Ruberto, Israel & Weiner and Beth Cuzzone of Boston’s Goulston & Storrs, co-founders of LSSO along with Silvia Coulter of Minneapolis’ Dorsey & Whitney, gave a presentation called “Creating a Sales Culture in Your Law Firm.” Although MacDonagh and her confederates often also oversee marketing efforts within their firms, they are adamant when they say that marketing/public relations and sales/business development are two separate categories. “I see marketing as something that exists to support sales,” said MacDonagh. “They are completely different disciplines,” agrees Rob Randolph of Philadelphia’s Duane Morris, who, like MacDonagh, is the possessor of a law degree who chooses to work in sales. For the non-lawyer salesperson, there are some ethical concerns that must be taken into account. The ban on fee-splitting, for example, would seem to bar working on commission. But such esoterica just make that much more material for LSSO’s library, newsletter and planned first annual convention — “Raindance 2004″ — scheduled for next June. – National Law Journal

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