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FARELLA LAWYER’S SABBATICAL A SLIPPERY SLOPE Dean Gloster put his sabbatical to good use. During a three-month break from Farella Braun & Martel last year, he prepped for the NASTAR national skiing championships, even attending a ski racing camp in November. Nine days ago he won the bronze medal in Park City, Utah. “It was really exciting, and it was really surprising,” Gloster said. Four-time Olympic skier A.J. Kitt placed the medal around Gloster’s neck and chatted with him about the snow in California. He also got to bring home a pair of Goode ski poles. The 46-year-old Gloster took up ski racing eight years ago with his brother. He’s competed in NASTAR for the past four years, but this year was the first time he placed. Founded by Ski Magazine in 1968, NASTAR is the largest recreational racing program for skiers and snowboarders in the world. About 100 resorts in North America operate NASTAR race courses. Each resort sends its three fastest skiers in each of several age divisions to the championships. Gloster said there were 1,070 racers, ages 3 to 85, at this year’s race. There were 27 competitors in his division of men ages 45 to 49. Gloster’s 12-year-old son also competed in the race, placing 12th in his division, and his brother finished 13th in his age group. For Gloster, ski racing is a great change of pace from his work as a financing and bankruptcy lawyer. “It’s very cathartic to slam at the gates at 35 miles per hour,” he said. “And it’s nice to have an excuse for getting into shape.” — Brenda Sandburg AT BAT Robert Charles Friese, name partner at Shartsis, Friese & Ginsburg, has a reputation for sliding into bases. Maybe that’s because the 61-year-old has a habit of making it to softball games just in time. Like the time he flew in from business in New York and arrived at the game in a taxi cab, still dressed in his pin-striped suit. He told the cabby to wait while he played, but was surprised to hear the driver cheering “Bob, Bob” from the top of the hill. For more than 30 years, lawyers like Friese have been curtailing depositions, rescheduling hearings, whatever it takes to leave work early on Lawyer’s League game nights. The league was founded in 1973 by Graham Maloney, of Green Radovsky Maloney & Share, when, after two decades of playing in their own city leagues, lawyers were banned from having their own separate division. “We wanted to play with lawyers because it was a way of dealing with people you see on the other side of the negotiation table and the courtroom,” said Maloney. So Maloney, then a second-year associate at Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, was assigned to researching and creating an independent league. Over the years, lawyers say there have been some great teams, rivalries and stories. There’s the time Maloney assigned the public defender and the district attorney teams to play at a park that, he later learned, was renowned for its drug activity. And when some teams brought in ringers, Maloney had to ask players to produce a bar card before taking the field. Today there are 40 teams, but in the league’s heyday there were 80 — with names like the Heller’s Angels, the Orrick No Stars, the Brobeck Bashers, the Mighty Mouthpiece and the Irish Jewish Alliance. Peter Shaw, appellate commissioner of the Ninth Circuit, will be playing his 28th season this spring on the latest incarnation of the circuit’s team. With the April 25 opener just around the corner, he’s ready to relive his team’s six championship victories — in ’87, ’88, ’94, ’96, ’98 and ’99. “We have one of the oldest teams,” he says. “But there is nothing better than beating the young players.” — Marie-Anne Hogarth OPENING NIGHT The Pine Street offices of Gonzalez & Leigh were overflowing last Wednesday night, with lawyers, leftists, and lawyer-leftists packed in like sardines for the firm’s opening party. There was talk about the new firm’s direction (a heavy load of plaintiff work), and war stories about the name partners’ days as young public defenders. The event was decidedly more necktie than tie-dye, but mixed into the crowd were elephant advocates, parking lot opponents, a professional “nuclear whistle-blower” and at least one activist for “truth, justice and the American way.” That made for interesting conversation as the name partners wended their way through a dense crowd eager for their attention. G. Whitney Leigh — the former Keker & Van Nest partner — was straight-backed and dapper; Matt Gonzalez, the erstwhile San Francisco supervisor and Green Party mayoral candidate, was stout and understated. Neither seemed stressed about operating a firm. Unlike politics, Gonzalez said, “law is easy.” As the night progressed, former DA Terence Hallinan, Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the hoary San Francisco Independent columnist Warren Hinckle — with his even-hoarier basset hound — showed up. John Enscoe, a partner with Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp who does insurance work, was impressed. “It’s not like most opening parties, [with] just lawyers and clients,” he said. Ray Catudal, a software marketing executive in the office next door, liked the d�cor. “One of the things I noticed when I walked in here is how feng shui it is.” – Justin Scheck

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