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Edward Slezak Vice president and general counsel, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. Edward Slezak’s job isn’t all fun and games. While being the only in-house lawyer at a cutting-edge computer game company has its perks � he can play NBA Jam to his heart’s content � Slezak usually has to suppress his inner adolescent and think about more serious matters. In addition to vetting Acclaim Entertainment, Inc.’s offerings for gratuitous sex and violence, he makes sure that developers don’t infringe on competitors’ intellectual property rights. The Garden City, New York-based gaming company publishes such popular holiday stocking stuffers as Extreme G3, Aggressive Inline, and the notorious BMX XXX (the game’s Web page carries a prominent “Keep It Dirty” slogan). We talked with Slezak, 35, about what it’s like to be a grown-up in a company that caters mainly to teenage boys. How did you get your job? I was an associate with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft for four years. Then 9/11 happened… After that, the deals just stopped. In terms of my career, I saw that Cadwalader wasn’t going to be naming any new corporate partners for a long time. So I thought maybe I should go in-house. I actually found the opportunity on the Internet. I was looking at public companies on Long Island, which is where I live � my office is ten minutes from my home. The best thing was when I interviewed for my job. I was talking with the CEO, and he gave me a couple of games. I thought to myself, “This is a win-win situation. Even if I don’t get the job, I’ll get a couple of new games out of it.” So working in-house at a game company is a little different from a big law firm? Very different [from] a stuffy law firm. Your client is right there, and always there. And they’re always popping in. In-house, you learn all the hot points, where you can help. Besides, the people on the business side are a lot more pleasant than most lawyers. When did you start playing computer games? Way before I came here. I’ve been doing that since I was a kid. I re-member playing Pong [a television console game popularized by Atari in the 1970s]. I have to admit that I got away from it when I went to law school. But I got back into gaming later. My wife bought me a PlayStation 2, and I had a couple of titles at home. Now I get everything we put out. Plus I pick up competitors’ products to see what’s out there. Do you have kids? Do they play? I have two boys, ages 5 and 4. My 5-year-old is an excellent gamer. He plays games with skill levels for kids much older than him. The younger guy just watches his brother. Will they be playing BMX XXX anytime soon? I don’t think so [laughs]. So where would we find you on a Saturday afternoon? With my children, at a party, or playing in the park.. A lot of people criticize the gaming industry for gratuitous sex and violence. What role do you play in examining your company’s products, if any? The developers understand what kind of edgy material should go into a game. Being creative people, they’ll try to put in some twists and push the envelope. Part of my job is to say you can do this, you can’t do that. I don’t want to say I get involved in questions of taste � it’s more a matter of style. What else do you do besides vetting games? I am the legal department � I’m the only lawyer here. My role is to replace outside counsel as much as possible. So I have a great deal of compliance work, filings, that kind of thing. I’m the secretary of the company, too. Which of your competitors’ games do you wish Acclaim published? Halo, by Microsoft. It’s a tremendous game. It’s been voted the best game ever.

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