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Not all dot-coms play the field. WebLink Wireless Inc., the Dallas-based wireless messaging company, has relied on New York’s Davis Polk & Wardwell and Dallas’s Winstead Sechrest & Minick throughout most of its history. That longevity has had two causes, say attorneys at both firms: close relationships between client and counsel, and an effective division of labor. Davis Polk has been helping WebLink since its first round of corporate financing in 1989. (The company was known as PageMart Wireless Inc. until a name change two years ago.) The firm had a long-standing relationship with WebLink’s underwriter Morgan Stanley Group Inc. (now Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.), which made it a natural candidate to field the company’s financial matters, says partner Joseph Hadley. Davis Polk is hardly a tech-industry newbie, with clients like Oracle Corporation and Compaq Global Services. But the firm’s Wall Street muscle was what counted for a client like WebLink, both on its ascent — particularly in harnessing the high-yield debt market — and on the way down, in its restructuring. While Davis Polk came to WebLink through an institutional client, Winstead Sechrest’s relationship with the company has been more personal: Partner Robert Crawford has known CEO John Beletic for more than a decade. The two became friends in 1983, when Beletic was CFO and senior vice president at paging company VMX Inc., a Winstead Sechrest client. Although Beletic bounced around several companies, he stayed loyal to the firm, and to Crawford. When Beletic landed at WebLink in 1992, he returned to his friend for legal advice and more, hiring Frederick Anderson as the company’s general counsel on Crawford’s recommendation. Crawford’s relationship with Anderson also dates back to the early eighties, when both were starting out as young attorneys in Dallas, the former at Winstead Sechrest and the latter at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Both Davis Polk and Winstead Sechrest have kept WebLink on their client rosters by playing to their respective strengths. Davis Polk has handled financial, securities, and regulatory matters for the company in New York and Washington, D.C. Winstead Sechrest — with four of its six offices in the Lone Star State — has used its intimate knowledge of Texas to cover more local issues such as contracts, real estate, vendors, and employment matters. Because the firm is based in the same city as is its client, “it’s much easier to attend to [their] day-to-day requirements,” Crawford observes. WebLink’s loyalty to its counsel has continued even in its latest phase: When the company had to pick a bankruptcy venue, GC Anderson says, it opted for Texas instead of Delaware, partly to keep Winstead Sechrest on the case.

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