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YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE HUGE TO IMPRESS CISCO’S GC The general counsel of the world’s largest networking company is thinking small. Cisco Systems GC Mark Chandler said last week that he’s “looking at more and more small and mid-size firms” when doling out the company’s $50 million-plus worth of legal work each year. Chandler was speaking Tuesday at the Cal Law Business conference on small law firm productivity (Cal Law is the online version of The Recorder). He said Cisco is eager to work with firms that are speedy, responsive and transparent. For example, he said, the company’s legal department counts only one patent attorney among its 120 lawyers. So Cisco relies on many small and mid-size patent firms — some local, some far away — to file most of its 1,000 patent applications a year. In the Bay Area those include 12-lawyer Hickman Palermo Truong & Becker of San Jose, 22-lawyer Beyer Weaver & Thomas of Mountain View and 75-lawyer Blakely, Sokoloff, Taylor & Zafman of Sunnyvale. Routine employment matters also tend to get outsourced, and not necessarily to megafirms. More important than size is transparency — the firms that work with Cisco provide the company’s attorneys access to the law firm’s knowledge bases and help them track work electronically as it progresses. Chandler compared it to a consumer being able to track online the processing and shipping of a book order from Amazon.com. That kind of access is more important to Chandler than having 500 lawyers. “Forty, 50, 60, 20 lawyers is not an issue for us,” Chandler said. “Three lawyers is not an issue for us.” What is important is that information be “available to people when they need it.” Cisco has used eight-lawyer Friedman Dumas & Springwater of San Francisco and nine-lawyer Bialson, Bergen & Schwab of Palo Alto on finance matters; 22-lawyer Trucker Huss of San Francisco and 25-lawyer General Counsel Associates of Mountain View on human resource matters; and 27-lawyer Sideman & Bancroft of San Francisco for litigation. Chandler jokingly mentioned one other reason he likes using small firms. When he hands over a case, “I know the maximum number of timekeepers that will be on it.” — Scott Graham THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES The last time Joseph McMonigle sat in a fifth-floor office of San Francisco’s Merchants Exchange Building, he had shaggy brown hair and wore a light-blue plaid leisure suit. That was in the late 1970s, when he was a rookie litigator with Long & Levit. Today, as the firm’s managing partner, the silver-haired lawyer dons khakis for ordinary working days and a tailored suit for big meetings. McMonigle and his colleagues moved out in 1983. Now, after more than 20 years in several buildings around the city, the firm is back in the same offices where it began in 1927. “I think it was the folks who were here before who liked the building � and felt the move demonstrated we were still here and were going back to our roots,” McMonigle said. Long & Levit, which counts design firms among its clients, also felt the architectural and historical landmark was “an intriguing combination” for the firm, he said. Plenty has changed for McMonigle and his colleagues since they last occupied the Beaux Arts-style building on California Street. When he started as an associate in the late ’70s, the firm was just tapping into a new niche: legal malpractice. “It grew out of a unrelated area where doctors turned around and started countersuing lawyers who had sued them for malpractice,” he recalled. Today, the litigation firm, which advises professionals, employers and insurers, is among a shrinking group of successful small law firms. The firm had 18 lawyers when McMonigle started and as many as 100 at one point, but now employs about 30. McMonigle says the firm’s success is based on its thriving niche practice and good economics. “We have no debt,” he said. “We increased partners’ income 100 percent over the last two years and lowered expenses.” But these days, McMonigle watches more than the bottom line. When he passes through the barrel-vaulted lobby that sparkles with bronze, gold leaf and marble, he takes notice. “When I was a young lawyer, I didn’t care that the floors were marble or about the brass and wood details. I just thought, ‘This is an old building.’” — Adrienne Sanders JENNIFER WATCH: WEEK 3 Jennifer Massey had a chance to take a stand in “The Apprentice” boardroom. But instead of disagreeing with her snarling teammates, the Clifford Chance associate lined up with them against contestant Stacie J. While others called Stacie J. “crazy” and “borderline schizophrenic,” Massey was more temperate. “I thought [her behavior] was strange for a confined period of time, and I haven’t seen it since,” Massey told Donald Trump. Trump asked Massey if Stacie J. had frightened her. “I was nervous,” she said. Stacie J., who is a restaurant owner in Harlem and the only African-American on her team, has gotten the cold shoulder since day one. While waiting to see who had won the first week’s contest, she played with a Magic 8 Ball and told her teammates they were the winners and should go claim their prize. Each week, Trump gives the contestants, divided into two teams mainly by gender, a task to complete. At the end of the assignment, the project manager of the losing team goes into Trump’s boardroom with two or three teammates, and Trump fires one of them. In the third episode, the contestants had to create a public buzz for a new flavor of Crest toothpaste — vanilla mint — being launched by Procter & Gamble. The women’s team went $5,000 over budget when the printer charged them more than expected for their promotional fliers. That cost them the contest. The team’s project manager picked Stacie J. and the contestant who had ordered the fliers to go into the boardroom with her. When the two women whined that Stacie J. was the real problem, Trump called the other women into the boardroom and asked what they thought of her. “They got what they wanted,” Stacie J. said in her taxi ride away from Trump Tower. “Now they’ll go after each other.” Fired this week: Stacie J. — Brenda Sandburg

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