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GLOVES ARE OFF IN THE FIGHT FOR PLAYOFF TICKETS It’s October, and that means post-season baseball, and the ritual of allotting prized playoff tickets within law firms. Not surprisingly, the season tickets firms use for schmoozing clients throughout the summer have experienced a sudden spike in value now that the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s are both in the playoffs. For associates, it’s tough luck — a seat at the playoffs is strictly a partner’s privilege at most Bay Area firms (although Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker does open it up to of counsel as well). But even among partners, supply is typically outstripped by demand. At Gordon & Rees, seniority pays off, with name partner and baseball aficionado Stuart Gordon taking first dibs on all playoff tickets. Gordon claims at least one pair of the firm’s four lower box seats per series. The remainder trickle down the firm hierarchy, with partners who make the most use of regular season tickets getting preference. On the other end of the spectrum is Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal’s democratic lottery system. Anyone interested in catching a game submits their name a week before the playoffs begin, with winners drawn from a hat. And while senior partners at Farella Braun & Martel once received first rights on playoffs tickets, the firm recently switched to a more collaborative system, whereby partners interested in attending the same game are left to work it out among themselves. “It’s like trading baseball cards,” says Farella Chief Marketing Officer Phyllis Gillis. — Alexei Oreskovic BRAINS AND BRAWN Intellectual property lawyers are known for protecting the brainy work of their clients. But a group of local IP specialists are focusing on the body as well by carving a niche for themselves on the regional triathlon circuit. Longtime swimmer James McDonald got the idea to set up a triathlon team when he met fellow Pennie & Edmonds associate Rahul Pathak, who had been on UC-Berkeley’s biking team. They hooked up with runner Nathan Machin to complete their trio. Machin has since moved to Seattle but four other Pennie & Edmonds associates and staff joined the team — runners Shawn Glidden, Wendy Ross and Thomas Chan and biker Stephen Youtsey, who is now at Townsend and Townsend and Crew. The group competes once or twice a month, most recently at the Seagate Triathlon at Pacific Grove where they won their relay division. The races keep morale up at work, McDonald said and also motivate people to stay fit. The competition “gives you this can-do attitude,” McDonald said. “It’s very inspiring.” Some competitors are in their 60s and older, he said. “It lets you know if you really work at it you can keep your body healthy.” The swimmer typically begins the triathlon with a 1.5-kilometer race. The biker then completes a 40-kilometer passage, and the runner ends the meet with a 10-kilometer run. McDonald, who played water polo at the University of Wisconsin, used to compete solo in triathlons. He still competes in open water swims but says the team atmosphere keeps you going. “It gives you that extra push,” he said. “You don’t want to let the team down.” – Brenda Sandburg GAY-FRIENDLY FIRM Long recognized as a bastion of diversity, Morrison & Foerster has won a new accolade — as the first law firm to rank among the nation’s top gay-friendly employers, according to the country’s largest gay magazine. In its latest edition, The Advocate, which bills itself as “the national gay & lesbian newsmagazine,” singles MoFo out from other firms, noting that Chairman Keith Wetmore is openly gay, the firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case, and that it offers full domestic partnership benefits. “In addition to medical, vision, dental, life insurance and long-term care,” the magazine raves, “the firm also allows anyone, including domestic partners, to be a beneficiary in the company retirement plan, and provides paid family leave for adoptions to employees.” Almost breathlessly, the magazine notes that the firm “has a gay employees group commonly known as MoFo Homos.” The Advocate based its rating on information supplied by the firm and on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate quality index. HRC — the nation’s largest gay political organization — gave MoFo a perfect 100 points for meeting seven criteria, including having a written non-discrimination policy for sexual orientation, conducting gay-sensitive advertising campaigns and avoiding support of anti-gay groups. The magazine cited MoFo’s contributions to several gay organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In the past four years, The Advocate has identified 55 companies for its gay-friendly list, and MoFo was pleased to be its first law firm. “We’re honored to be recognized by The Advocate in this way,” Wetmore said. “It confirms what surveys regarding racial and ethnic diversity reflect, which is that MoFo is the most diverse large law firm in the country.” Joining MoFo on The Advocate‘s list this year were Chicago’s Bank One and Hyatt Hotels, Bausch & Lomb of Rochester, N.Y., Borders Group of Ann Arbor, Mich., Atlanta’s Cingular Wireless, Capital One Financial of McLean, Va., Deutsche Bank of New York and Frankfurt, Germany, and New York’s Lehman Brothers and Metropolitan Life Insurance. — Mike McKee

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