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SONSINI BREAKS OUT THE CHECKBOOK OVER CONTRIBUTIONS The rarefied status of a political patron comes with various pesky rules and regulations, as Larry Sonsini discovered in his introductory stint as a major donor. The chairman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati recently settled an entanglement with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for violating the Political Reform Act. According to the agency, Sonsini failed to file a semi-annual campaign report for $11,000 in contributions he made in 2002. Under the act, contributors who give more than $10,000 qualify as a major donor. Sonsini’s main contribution of $10,000 went to fellow attorney and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, who launched an ill-fated bid for the state’s governorship in the 2002 Republican primary. Sonsini also donated $1,000 to Democrat John Garamendi’s successful campaign to become the state’s insurance commissioner. Sonsini did not return a call seeking comment. The FPPC said its enforcement staff contacted Sonsini about the missing report several times to no avail. According to the settlement order, Sonsini ultimately attributed his delinquency to the fact that he was unfamiliar with the filing requirements. Sonsini’s transgression carried a maximum fine of $5,000. Under the settlement approved in March, Sonsini will pay $2,000 and avoid the need for an evidentiary hearing. — Alexei Oreskovic YOUR CALL DID NOT GO THROUGH The founder of a San Francisco-based Internet service that pairs lawyers with clients is being accused of using sneaky tactics to sink the competition. A May 17 federal indictment alleges that Dmitry Shubov, who stepped down from his post as LegalMatch.com’s CEO on May 19, called the voicemail system of Irvine-based competitor Casepost.com and used an access code that allowed him to hear and delete messages. Shubov’s attorney, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton partner Thomas Brown, said Friday that he could not comment on the indictment until he receives discovery from the government. Shubov, formerly an associate in the New York office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, founded LegalMatch in 1999 and launched its site on the Internet in 2000. Stuart Gross took over as CEO of LegalMatch last week. ( The Recorder‘s parent company, American Lawyer Media, has a minority holding in the company.) Casepost President and CEO Wes Fox says he was alerted that something wasn’t right when some customers complained that his company wasn’t returning calls, yet their original calls didn’t show up in the company’s logs. “We knew there was a problem with the system � but we couldn’t quite figure it out,” he said. Messages from potential customers also were deleted, “so we lost that business,” he added. Fox says four of Shubov’s employees tipped Casepost off; Gross, the new LegalMatch CEO, says he believes they were ex-employees. The indictment handed down by a grand jury in Santa Ana lists three counts of unlawful access to store communications and one count of making false statements, according to a statement from the Central District of California U.S. attorney’s office. The latter count refers to allegations that Shubov denied he had hacked into Casepost’s system. If convicted on all four counts, Shubov faces up to 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. A federal investigation “suggests that Mr. Shubov basically guessed what the password was,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Stolper. Fox says Casepost has tightened security, noting that the company now has nine-digit access codes for voicemail. — Pam Smith RAPID-FIRE Ian Chowdhury, a Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati associate, says directing films is a lot like litigation. He should know. Chowdhury directed a short film, “The Vandalso Pages,” which debuted at San Francisco’s Roxie Cinema on Thursday. “It’s a collaborative process where everybody has to work together to respond to what amounts to a crisis situation,” Chowdhury said. Shooting his five-minute movie was indeed more hurried than most filmmaking. He made the film in just two days, on May 15 and 16, as part of a contest called the 48 Hour Film Project. Participants create, shoot and edit their shorts all in one weekend. Chowdhury, who takes acting classes when he’s not working on intellectual property cases, learned of the contest last year when he acted in a friend’s mini-film. In the contest, each team must select the genre for its film in a random drawing 15 minutes before the competition begins. Chowdhury and his group ArtWerkz made a comedic mystery featuring a detective/aspiring singer named D. Nightingale. Chowdhury said the creative kick he gets from making movies helps him with his work in Palo Alto and essentially uses the same skills. He said, “Both litigating and directing center around story-telling. One is fiction and one is about nonfiction ostensibly, but both are about telling a story.” — Adrienne Sanders

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