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Kelly Crabb will help carry the Olympic torch — at least its legal weight. The Los Angeles-based partner with Morrison & Foerster is co-chairing the firm’s legal services team for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The firm, which was one of only two chosen by the Beijing organizing committee, is providing legal advice in several areas, including numerous agreements that will have to be secured before the Olympic flame’s lighting kicks off the world’s largest sporting event. “It’s very legally intensive,” Crabb said. “I expect it to be a very intense labor of love by a lot of people, not just lawyers.” Crabb, who also scored work on the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, while he was with the Los Angeles office of New York’s Dewey Ballantine, said the legal work behind the torch relay can get so complicated that, in 2002, one lawyer had to be dedicated exclusively to the task. The process will be even more complex this time because Summer Olympics are bigger than Winter Olympics and the Chinese organizers want the torch to pass through several countries, not just the host nation, Crabb said. In addition to securing agreements with municipalities and countries through which the torch will pass, Morrison & Foerster’s work also encompasses agreements with athletes who will carry the torch as well as the sponsors and entertainers along the route. Morrison & Foerster was chosen out of more than 120 firms that initially expressed interest in providing international counsel, Crabb said. He declined to provide financial estimates of the contract, saying the terms are confidential. Several e-mails to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad were not returned. China’s largest law firm, the Beijing-based King & Wood, will provide legal advice on local matters. More than 10,000 athletes are expected to take part in 28 sports during the games, which will be held from Aug. 8 to 24, 2008. Morrison & Foerster has split its Olympic-related work among four lawyers in its Beijing office and four lawyers in Los Angeles, although attorneys from other areas have helped as needed, such as a tax expert in Washington. Crabb, who traveled to China 10 times in the last two years as part of the project, said that, while most of the work related to the torch relay is coming up, his team has already done most of the work surrounding broadcasting rights for media entities all over the globe. “Lots of interesting issues arise-there are territorial exclusivities that are a part of every contract and of course with new methods of broadcast technology always popping up like wireless and mobile, all of these things have to be dealt with,” Crabb said. Crabb and other lawyers who have been involved in the Olympics said that their uniqueness makes the legal work challenging but fulfilling. “Much of what you’re doing you can’t go to a form book because there is nothing quite like the Olympics,” said James Jardine, the managing director of Salt Lake City’s Ray, Quinney & Nebeker who was outside general counsel to Salt Lake City’s bid and organizing committees. “Most of the lawyers who worked on that will never work on a project of that magnitude or that international visibility. I know I’ll never experience that in my life again. So you know you’re on an enormous stage and it has to be right.” Other firms in the hunt? Other American firms may also be competing for business during the games. Beijing authorities have said they will invest nearly $60 billion on 2,400 Olympic projects from 2006 to 2010, which is certain to involve a healthy share of legal work. Baker & McKenzie, the nation’s largest law firm, published in 2002 an investment fact sheet on the Beijing Olympics. Representatives for the firm did not make lawyers available to discuss their Olympics-related work. DLA Piper was among several global firms chosen to serve on the legal panel for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London.

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