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As Google Inc. prepares to go public, its law department has become one of the hottest draws in Silicon Valley. But although the world’s most popular Internet search company is on a hiring spree, getting a job at Google remains a challenge. Even attorneys with top-shelf credentials and inside connections say that they’ve been turned down. A Google spokesperson declined to comment for this story because of the pre-IPO quiet period mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, several observers estimate that the law department currently has about 40 attorneys. And that figure seems to be increasing, says Carmen Chang, a partner in the Menlo Park, California, office of Shearman & Sterling who represents Google in Asia. “Every time I turn around, there’s a new lawyer,” says Chang. Google has had an obvious appeal for many attorneys, especially those in Silicon Valley. Lawyers are “very interested in the possibility of being in one of the last great start-up companies � to relive a little of the boom,” says one associate who knows several people who have applied for jobs at Google. But joining the Google team is a long process. A successful candidate can go through as many as six rounds of interviews before being hired. “They’re very picky and selective about the types of personality they’re looking for,” says one associate at a large Silicon Valley firm who got the brush-off after advancing relatively deep into the interview process. The associate � who graduated from a law school ranked as one of the top five in the country by U.S. News & World Report � says that the company seemed particularly interested in ensuring that an applicant “will mesh with their team.” Google has all the legal needs of a major corporation, in addition to a unique set of circumstances. The company’s search-based advertising service, which accounted for 95 percent of its revenue in 2003, faces a number of crucial legal tests. Several businesses have sued Google, alleging that its practice of linking keyword search results to advertisements violates their trademarks. And Overture Services, now owned by Yahoo Inc., has also sued Google on the grounds that the search-based advertising service infringes on its patent. Google contends in court documents that Overture’s patent is invalid. “They’re going to have some real legal challenges going forward,” says David Moyer, an intellectual property litigator at San Francisco’s Wineberg, Simmonds & Narita. Moyer adds, “They will keep a lot of litigators busy as well as deal lawyers.”

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