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When it comes to the Sand Hill Challenge, San Francisco-based Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison crashes more often than the Nasdaq. For the third year in a row, the firm’s soap box car took a crash course to the finish line at the annual Menlo Park, Calif., fund-raiser. But Brobeck lawyers wax philosophical on their run of bad luck. “The whole point of it is we spend plenty of our work lives being serious, and the one thing we don’t take seriously is ourselves,” says partner Curtis Mo. The fourth annual Sand Hill Challenge, a soap box derby held on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road — the Fifth Avenue of investment capital — was staged September 24. A handful of law firms participated in the event, which raised $300,000 for local charities. The firms fork over as much as $20,000 for a corporate tent and sponsorship notice. The firms participated alongside venture capital firms and high-tech heavies, like Intel Corp., which sponsored a high school team and even sent engineers to a Palo Alto high school to help build the car. Venture Law Group sponsored a high school team as well, and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich ponied up cash for the event. Fenwick & West meanwhile rolled out its car, dolled up to look like a shark (insert lawyer joke here) for the whimsy competition. For its ill-fated entry, Brobeck again borrowed a soapbox car from Jamis MacNevin, who owns the renowned Woodside eatery Buck’s Restaurant. “He’s got a good sense of humor — he says we must be a personal injury law firm,” Mo joked. Absent from the event this year, however, was Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Perhaps they were too busy minting money.

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