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SHE’S GOT GAME � EVEN IF HER SKYHOOK STILL NEEDS WORK Micki Singer matched Magic Johnson shot for shot — that is until the ex-Laker slammed a wicked skyhook and sent her back to the bench. For Singer, though, the agony of defeat seemed pretty sweet. The Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold partner was thrilled just to have shared the court with a basketball legend like Johnson. Besides, the skyhook “wasn’t in my repertoire in college,” Singer said. The 40-year-old litigator is a basketball aficionado whose San Francisco office is something of a sports shrine with its autographed Michael Jordan poster and framed photo of a Chicago Bulls game — with Singer and her parents in the stands. Singer got into the game with Johnson through another sports legend, ex-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. Staubach’s real estate services company has helped Sedgwick with its offices across the country. Staubach came to a firm dinner and hit it off with a kindred sports spirit, Singer. Staubach asked her to come to the charity basketball event in Dallas the following day, saying the two could play a game of horse before the event. It wasn’t the best timing, however, since Sedgwick was holding its annual partnership retreat that weekend. But her colleagues told her to skip the meeting for the game. The next day, Singer was sitting on the sidelines when Staubach announced she would be competing in a charity contest with 10 former college and professional athletes, including Johnson. Singer was a little stunned, because she had no idea she’d be competing. But apparently, her surprise didn’t affect her game. She was one of two finalists who got to shoot a game of horse with Johnson. Then again, Singer’s no chump on the court. She played basketball from middle school through college and won a full basketball scholarship to the University of Denver, where she was a two-time Female Athlete of the Year. She also played on the U.S. Junior Olympics team. Though Johnson aced her in the end, he did give her a gift: an autographed basketball. Singer said she is looking forward to showing it to her daughter’s sixth-grade basketball team, which she coaches. While Singer was thrilled to be on the basketball court with superstars, she said the best part was getting to know Staubach, whom she has long admired. “Combined with meeting Magic Johnson it was an experience beyond my wildest expectations,” she said. — Brenda Sandburg SHEPPARD’S SLICE OF THE PIE Last month’s bankruptcy filing by X10 Wireless Technology was welcome news to anyone who’s ever cursed irksome Internet “pop-up” ads. X10, of course, is the maker of tiny video cameras, whose ubiquitous pop-ups featuring scantily clad women have gained a measure of online notoriety during the past few years. But Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton may be wishing for the company’s speedy recovery in Chapter 11 — at least until it recovers the money it’s owed. According to the list of the 20 largest unsecured creditors that X10 filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington, Sheppard, Mullin boasts the second-largest outstanding claim in the case, totaling $667,411.93. Sean O’Connor, a partner at Sheppard, Mullin’s Orange County office, said the claim stems from the firm’s representation of X10 in a lawsuit brought by Advertisement Banners.com, which happens to be the largest creditor in the bankruptcy case with a $3.9 million claim. The dispute reportedly centers around which company developed the technology behind the pop-up ads favored by X10. O’Connor declined to comment on the suit, which is currently stayed, or the bankruptcy, citing a gag order imposed by the trial court judge. Since both Sheppard, Mullin and Advertisement Banners.com are likely to be members of the creditors committee, the firm could find itself in the unusual position of battling a company in one courtroom and teaming up with it against its own client in another courtroom. — Alexei Oreskovic A MAN FOR ALL SIDES All of a sudden, Boalt Hall School of Law professor Stephen Barnett is in vogue in the nation’s capital. On Oct. 22 during a confirmation hearing for Janice Rogers Brown, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, prominently mentioned the Berkeley liberal as a backer of the California Supreme Court justice’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Then, on Thursday, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought up the fact that Barnett had changed his mind after hearing the content of Brown’s speeches. Who would’ve ever thought Barnett would be such a player in national politics? Reached Friday, Barnett had no comment, other than to say he “didn’t take any pleasure in this.” Still, to have your name invoked by the two top men on the Senate Judiciary Committee has to be an honor. Hatch, chairman of the committee, was thrilled to be able to use Barnett’s name in an effort to show bipartisan support for Brown. Leahy was equally glad to throw Barnett’s reversal back in Hatch’s face. “By opposing her nomination,” Leahy said, “Professor Barnett has joined more than 200 other law school professors who wrote to the committee expressing their opposition.” Leahy went on to note that Barnett had criticized Brown’s statement that her controversial speeches exist in a different realm than her opinions. That, Barnett had written, “not only is implausible, but trivializes the judicial role.” Leahy, one of nine Democrats who voted to oppose Brown’s confirmation, said he agreed. “Justice Brown’s provocative speeches are disturbing in their own right,” he said, “and they are made more so by their reprise in her opinions.” It makes one wonder whether Barnett’s name will come up during the full Senate debates over Brown. Stay tuned. — Mike McKee PENNIE IN PLAY A year after spurning Jones Day’s marriage offer, New York’s Pennie & Edmonds apparently has changed its mind. It’s unclear whether Jones Day will acquire the entire 172-attorney intellectual property firm or a major chunk of it. But recruiters knowledgeable about the discussions say Jones Day has made an offer, and many Pennie & Edmonds lawyers have accepted. One individual familiar with the discussions said Jones Day had offered to bring on the entire firm for one year. Partners at Jones Day and Pennie & Edmonds could not be reached for comment. Pennie & Edmonds had an initial round of discussions with Jones Day 18 months ago. When the talks broke off Pennie began merger discussions with Cooley Godward. Individuals close to Cooley said the deal breaker in those talks was Pennie’s policy of accruing accounts receivable to partners who’ve left the firm. Like other IP firms that have folded or merged with a larger firm, the 120-year-old Pennie & Edmonds has faced growing competition from general practice firms for big-ticket litigation. “The way IP litigation is parceled out by clients has changed dramatically,” Paul DeStefano, a partner in Pennie & Edmond’s Palo Alto office, said in an interview last year. Pennie & Edmonds also may have been moved to marriage by its lease situation. A source close to the firm said its New York lease is up for renewal next year, and landlords in the Big Apple are not taking anything less than a 15-year agreement. Pennie & Edmonds opened a four-attorney office in San Diego two months ago. It also has 31 lawyers in its Palo Alto office and 19 in its Washington, D.C., outpost. Jones Day has more than 2,000 lawyers in 27 offices around the world. – Brenda Sandburg

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