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Until eight weeks ago, Richard G. Shechtman says, he never envisioned giving up partnership at Hartford, Conn.’s Robinson & Cole — one of the state’s largest law firms — to go in-house for a technology company. Though no stranger to a laptop, Shechtman, 60, readily acknowledges his lack of technical prowess. His daughter jokes that he can’t even spell the word “technology,” he said. Still, after more than three decades in private practice, Shechtman said a combination of “opportunity and timing” convinced him to join Paradigm4 Inc., effective July 24, as the wireless data service and solutions company’s new vice president and general counsel. IPO WITHDRAWN The outfit, which is in the process of relocating its headquarters to Farmington, Conn., is betting on predictions that the number of people using hand-held devices to access and exchange information on a wireless basis will expand exponentially over the next three years. “We’re talking about an industry that’s on the cusp of taking off like a rocket ship,” Shechtman proclaimed last week. “The thought of doing something like this was exciting and juicy.” Just how juicy — in terms of potential financial incentives — Shechtman won’t say. But Alan R. Spier, co-chairman of Robinson & Cole’s corporate and finance section, where Shechtman had worked for the past 17 years, said he assumes stock options — when, and if, Paradigm4 goes public — are part of the mix. “It proves that we’re not all obsolete when we get over 30,” Spier said jokingly of the relatively young age at which lawyers typically take in-house jobs at high-tech firms. “They’re smart and they’re energetic, but they [usually] don’t have a lot of experience,” Spier said more seriously of attorneys who fit that profile. Shechtman’s experience in representing closely-held businesses and negotiating contracts, however, is probably a good part of why Paradigm4 hired him, according to Spier, who considered Shechtman one of Robinson & Cole’s best rainmakers. Indeed, within the past year, Paradigm4 has made the transition from a small startup to a “major factor” in the wireless data market, said its CEO, J. Bruce Boisture. Roughly 225 people, he said, are employed in the company’s 19 offices. Shechtman’s legal and business expertise, said Boisture — a former partner at Hartford-based Day, Berry & Howard himself — will serve the five-year-old company well as it looks to expand its offerings and further target both commercial enterprises and the public safety sector, which had been Paradigm4′s core market. The company’s gains haven’t come without setbacks. In April, Paradigm4 announced it was preparing for an initial public offering of $125 million, only to withdraw its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission three months later. Boisture, who joined the company in May 1999, said the decision was linked to the stock market’s increasing skepticism toward high-tech companies. Paradigm4 hasn’t given up its plans to go public, he promised, without disclosing any details. LEASE BEING NEGOTIATED But the sky’s the limit as far as the company’s business opportunities are concerned, Shechtman contended. DataQuest, a market research firm, estimates that the number of wireless data subscribers will grow to 103 million worldwide by 2003, he noted. Recent advances will make the technology cheaper to afford, according to Boisture. Formerly based in Fairfield, N.J., the company’s headquarters is currently located at the Bushnell on the Park building in downtown Hartford. It is negotiating the lease of a 26,000-square-foot site in Farmington, to which it hopes to move within the next few months, according to Shechtman. Paradigm4′s decision to relocate, he added, was based on the state’s commitment to high-tech employers, its proximity to major business centers and its quality of life.

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