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FROM STATE BAR TO CHINESE BOSS The scene shows an employer storming through a warehouse somewhere in Asia, gesturing angrily and shouting in Chinese. He reaches a desk and confronts a subordinate, continuing to yell. The employee looks up as the tirade ends and calmly says, “FedEx.” The boss man, looking surprised, grunts satisfaction and turns to walk away, as a voice intones: “FedEx overnight — all you need to know when shipping to Asia.” The 30-second commercialstars Melvin Lee, a San Francisco businessman and a non-lawyer member of the State Bar Board of Governors, appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis. The board got a private screening of the spot at the end of a meeting in May, and it was a big hit. The ad is apparently also playing well for Federal Express. Dubbed “Chinese Office,” it has been running since the middle of last year all across the country and in Canada. Adweek listed the commercial on its “BestSpots” site. Lee, who’s currently building a 10-story, upscale apartment complex for seniors near Van Ness Avenue and Geary Street, says he got the part through his daughter. An acupuncturist, she was working on a talent agent who said he was looking for a man of a certain age to portray a big boss in China. She suggested her father. Lee, 65, says the talent agency scoured New York and Los Angeles with no success, but struck gold with him. He auditioned in San Francisco and later filmed the ad over a day and a half in New York. Even though it was his first acting job, he was brazen enough to suggest altering the script to make his character more believable. “The wording was not right,” Lee says. “It was not natural.” In the commercial, Lee speaks Cantonese and is mad that an employee — in what appears to be a car parts warehouse — promised an overnight delivery he believes can’t be done. “I tell him it’s going to ruin our reputation,” Lee says. “That’s what I was yelling about.” Lee won’t say how much he was paid, only that he was “satisfied” and is continuing to receive monthly residuals. “It was a very, very nice experience, absolutely enjoyable,” he says. “I would do it again.” In fact, he says he’s already been offered, and rejected, roles in commercials for State Farm Insurance Co. and Hewlett-Packard. He says the parts were too small. “I want bigger parts,” he says. Lee says several people called him when the ad began playing to ask if that was, indeed, him as the angry boss. One fan: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who knows the prominent businessman. — Mike McKee PATENT MAY PREVENT DATE RAPE Patent attorney David Maher is joining the battle against the date rape drug GHB. Maher, an associate in Bingham McCutchen’s East Palo Alto office, wrote the patent on a test to detect the presence of the drug. Researchers at UC-Santa Barbara developed the test, which changes a strip of paper from white to intense purple in a few seconds in the presence of GHB. “It’s similar to what is used in a pregnancy test,” said Maher, who noted that until now, there hasn’t been an effective way to detect GHB. Maher said other tests on the market aren’t very sensitive, requiring large quantities of the drug to be present. The university’s test uses a bacterial enzyme that is so sensitive it can detect GHB in one quarter of a drop of urine, blood or an alcoholic drink. It is designed for use by emergency room physicians and law enforcement officers, as well as individuals in a social setting like a bar. A small dose of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) produces a euphoric or hallucinatory state and can render a person unconscious within five to 10 minutes. Marketed in the early 1990s as a dietary supplement for bodybuilding and other uses, the drug is widely used in the sexual assault of women. An entrepreneur in Santa Barbara was moved by a news report of a local date rape case and asked a friend of his at UC-Santa Barbara to develop an assay to detect the drug. The head of the school’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry took the project pro bono a few years ago. The university is now talking to companies interested in licensing the test. Maher, who has prosecuted several patents for the university, worked with the researchers as they were in the final stages of developing the assay. While the patent application involved routine invention disclosures, Maher said it has special value. “It’s one of these projects you get once in a while that’s beneficial to society,” said Maher. “It has social implications above and beyond the standard invention.” — Brenda Sandburg INHERIT THE WINDFALL A bill that has been three years in the making could put California in the forefront of asserting inheritance rights for posthumously conceived offspring. AB 1910, authored by probate attorney and Assemblyman Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. It seeks to amend the state’s Uniform Parentage Act to allow posthumously conceived children to be eligible for inheritance or death benefits, provided that the child is conceived according to the wishes of the dead parent and within two years of that parent’s death. If approved in committee, the bill will go to a full vote of both legislative houses and could end up on the governor’s desk, ending three years of negotiations between Harman’s staff, a working group of judges and the California State Bar. The bill comes on the heels of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision issued earlier this month in Gillett-Netting v. Barnhart , 04 C.D.O.S. 4949, in which the court unanimously upheld Social Security benefits for twins conceived in Arizona 10 months after their father, a 59-year-old anthropology professor, died of cancer. The father in that case, Robert Netting, had told his wife to use semen he had frozen and stored before undergoing cancer treatment to conceive a child. Harman’s bill requires that “the decedent’s genetic material was available for posthumous conception and was used in a manner intended by the decedent” in order for the children to receive benefits. Seven other states have laws allowing some sort of benefits for posthumously conceived children. “This is something that needs to be addressed,” said Tracy Potts, a member of the State Bar’s committee on trusts and estates. “We wanted to get the law closer to what is actually science.” – Jill Duman THE FASHIONABLE CHARITY The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley may be the new “in” charity for area law firms. Sunday, the foundation hosts its seventh annual Run for the Law fund-raiser — 5K and 10K runs and walks that start and end at the West Valley Courthouse in Los Gatos. Last year, 450 people ran, and the charity raised $12,500. This year only about 200 have signed up so far — but already the event has raised $14,000. Erika Brown, the foundation’s events and communications coordinator, said one of the reasons for the increased contributions is that more law firms wanted to get their names on T-shirts handed out to participants. This year, that honor cost $1,000. “I think that � we’re getting more acknowledgement within the legal community in the Bay Area,” Brown said. At the foundation’s fund-raising dinner, which was held in May, someone told a Law Foundation staff attorney that the group was the new “in” place to donate money. “We don’t mind that. We definitely enjoy that,” Brown said. The foundation has 25 staff attorneys who represent people in legal areas including AIDS, fair housing, children’s rights, mental health and public interest. The group also partners with law firms in pro bono cases. – Jeff Chorney

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