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Boris Feldman did not set out to become an authority on securities law when he took a job at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 1986. Feldman’s plan was to get a few years of experience working with Silicon Valley companies then return to practicing antitrust law in Washington, D.C. Clearly, though, something clicked. “The client base was distinctive and the place was high energy,” Feldman said. “It was sort of like walking into the inside of a pinball machine.” In the 17 years since moving to the Bay Area, Feldman, judges and attorneys say, has become a veritable securities law encyclopedia who can use that knowledge to nimbly switch gears during oral argument. “When he argues a case, he has total command of the facts and the laws that are applicable to that case,” one Bay Area judge said. “He expresses his arguments in a way that is very easy to understand and is very persuasive.” Feldman, 48, is a Yale Law School graduate who clerked for Judge Abraham Sofaer in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in the early 1980s. He then spent four years as an associate at Arnold & Porter. When Sofaer went to work for the State Department in 1985, he took Feldman with him. After a year at State, Feldman relocated to Silicon Valley because his wife was attending Stanford Law School. He now is a regular before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing three cases before the court during a 10-day period in November 2002 and winning all of them. His cases are also likely to influence the Ninth Circuit’s thinking on securities law, attorneys and judges say. Feldman was the lead partner, for example, in a class action case involving client Rational Software Corp. A judge dismissed a plaintiffs action but allowed limited discovery to continue while the plaintiff amended its complaint. Feldman appealed, arguing that it was forbidden by the 1995 Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Addressing that issue for the first time under the new law, the Ninth Circuit agreed and interpreted the law as halting discovery. “I didn’t make a conscious decision to be a securities litigator,” Feldman said. “I like the client base, and at that point what the clients needed was securities litigation.”

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