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The University of Memphis men’s basketball team was about to win the national championship Monday night until some missed free throws and other unfortunate events opened the door for an overtime victory by the University of Kansas. As a native of Memphis, when I saw that an ALM colleague and Kansas alumnus used the occasion to post a story about the top lawyer at his alma mater, I felt compelled to give my hometown team equal time. Sheri Lipman, Memphis’ university counsel, says she has been a fan of Tiger basketball since her family got season tickets for the 1971-72 season, when she was about eight years old. Run a fast break to 1991, by which time Lipman had graduated from New York University law school and moved back to Memphis after working in Washington. She says a contact through an “old girl network”-a fellow former clerk for then-U.S. District Court Judge Julia Gibbons-got her involved in representing the university in a long age discrimination case. In 1999, Lipman joined the in-house staff at the school, taking over as university counsel about five years ago. She says the post requires work on contracts-including that of Coach John Calipari, which she can’t discuss-and trademark matters that seemed to grow with each of the team’s 38 wins this season. “When we were number one, there were more issues” she says. “When we made the Final Four, there were even more issues. When we made it to the championship, there were yet more issues.”But the team’s success was great for the school and its staff, says Lipman, saying it inspired “a little more hitch in your step.” Lipman was at the games in San Antonio last weekend. Beating UCLA in the semi-final was her favorite moment, she says, because it redeemed not only Memphis’ 1973 loss to the Bruins in the national final but also a “miserable” loss in the Elite Eight in 2006. Given Memphis’ one-for-five performance at the charity stripe in the waning moments of regulation on Monday, I decided to ask Lipman how her free throw shooting was. Her answer: “Excellent.” Jonathan Ringel is managing editor of theFulton County Daily Report.

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