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PAUL, HASTINGS HAS ITS EYES ON A PRIZE TICKET Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker will gain offices in Paris and Brussels, Belgium, thanks to its recently announced acquisition of French firm Moquet Borde & Associes. But the deal could also net Paul, Hastings something more priceless: a ticket to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The exclusive, five-day conference-cum-schmooze-fest in the Alps, which concluded on Jan. 25 for this year, is attended by the world’s most influential political leaders, thinkers and captains of industry. Among this year’s roughly 2,000 guests were Dick Cheney, Bill Gates and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Dominique Borde, the founder of Moquet Borde, has been a regular at Davos for the past 10 years, when he was first invited. The experience, he says, is intense, but unparalleled. “There are a lot of teachers at Davos. And thinkers,” says Borde. “That’s why I go there. I like to go to school once a year.” This year, Borde attended discussion sessions on corporate governance, the future of China and the Middle East, and found himself seated at round tables with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson. A few years ago, he recalls, he was in a discussion group with Bill Clinton. Getting into Davos is no simple feat. A company must be selected by the World Economic Forum, and only the company’s head, or chair, is eligible to attend. Law firms are an especially rare breed at Davos. According to Borde, there are only a handful of law firms on the list besides Moquet Borde, including a pair of British firms, a German firm and U.S. firms Baker & McKenzie, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. But with Moquet Borde and Paul, Hastings set to merge, Borde is doing all he can to ensure that Paul, Hastings will inherit the membership and become one of the few U.S. law firms to possess a coveted ticket to Davos. — Alexei Oreskovic NOT YOUR TYPICAL COMMENDATION A gorilla has taken up residence in Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe’s lobby. It’s a stuffed animal named Koko (after the famous gorilla that learned sign language). The cuddly ape is the mascot for a fund-raising campaign hosted by the United Way of the Bay Area and the Bay Area General Counsel Group. Each year, law firms compete to get donations from their lawyers and staff. This year, 19 firms raised more than $1 million for charities. Three of the firms won the challenge’s highest prize and were presented with toy gorillas for the amount of money they raised, as well as the innovation and enthusiasm the lawyers showed during their campaigns. Based on the number of lawyers in their firms, Heller was awarded the Big Koko Award; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker received Little Koko; and Ropes & Gray earned Baby Koko. And Kevin Haroff, a partner at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey’s San Francisco office, got the “Top Banana” award — a trophy — for his work as a campaign coordinator. Dubbed the Koko Challenge, the fund-raising contest began 16 years ago. Law firms can designate their donations to go to specific charities or have the United Way of the Bay Area disperse the money to the projects it supports. The Koko gorillas are getting more attention than the standard plaques and certificates of appreciation. “Almost every day I come in and someone has changed its position,” said John Buchanan, Heller’s communications director. “His hands are over his eyes or behind his ears.” Ropes & Gray’s gorilla is being rotated from office to office. “It’s sure to be a client pleaser,” said San Francisco partner Dana Welch. “It warms the place up quite a bit.” — Brenda Sandburg A WIN-WIN SETTLEMENT In its third settlement between a school and a student in as many months, the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco penned a breakthrough agreement with the University of Florida. NCLR represented Andrea Zimbardi, a former catcher and co-captain for the university’s varsity softball team who was forced out in 2002 after she accused the school of sexual orientation discrimination. In the settlement the school agreed to take steps to restore Zimbardi’s final year of NCAA eligibility and to pay for her master’s degree studies. The deal also calls for the Division I school to implement a sweeping anti-discrimination plan. It includes training for its entire athletic department about discouraging homophobia. The sessions will include former professional football player Don McPherson, who now heads a sports leadership program at Adelphi University. The University of Florida will also give athletes better ways to report alleged bias, said Helen Carroll, NCLR’s Homophobia in Sports coordinator. “This is a model that we’d love to see other Division I schools emulate,” said Karen Doering, a Tampa, Fla.-based NCLR attorney. Doering praised the university’s coaching staff for its enthusiastic response to the first round of training in January. The university could not be reached for comment. “This is a smart way for [schools] to decrease their liability � if they want to keep and retain the best qualified athletes,” Doering said. — Jahna Berry

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