“There were a lot of intangibles to deal with,” says Wilson Sonsini associate Amy Rees who, with partners Donald Bradley and Steven Bochner, volunteered their time to lead the marriage between the Center for Software Development and the Software Forum.

Among the upside-down aspects of the deal: profit was unimportant, personnel loss was unacceptable, and consensus around almost every issue was required. On the other hand, a successful outcome would help prime the pump of Silicon Valley’s economic engine through its software-developer community.