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Silicon Valley, Calif., law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is taking advantage of the current doldrums in technology financing. It is using the downturn to hire a squad of new attorneys to build up the firm’s Fund Services Group, which provides legal services and counsel to venture capital and private equity funds. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based law firm said Monday it hired Bank of America attorney Robert S. Fore as a partner in the group. The group’s client roster includes JAFCO, Mayfield Fund, Polaris Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital, Trident Capital, and VantagePoint Venture Partners. Fore was general counsel to Bank of America’s worldwide private equity businesses and with venture capital and buyout firms. More recently, he served as an investment banker with Banc of America Securities. Fore, 37, holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, a J.D. from Loyola Law School and a M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. “What we are doing is taking advantage of this little bit of a slowdown in the market to build out the infrastructure from the people and technology standpoint,” said Jonathan Axelrad, chairman of the Funds Services Group. Axelrad left Wilson Sonsini after 10 years to pursue a short-lived stint — 11 months — with flailing Internet incubator idealab. He rejoined Wilson Sonsini in March. “We are continuing to build capacity in an area where we have been unable to serve as many clients as we wished for some years,” Axelrad said, adding that he expects private equity to remain extremely important to Wilson Sonsini’s practice. Prior to joining the firm, Fore and Axelrad often faced off on opposing sides of the negotiating table. “It’s really wonderful to have someone who was one of the biggest thorns in your side suddenly become an ally,” Axelrad told The Deal. The group also hired lawyer Steven C. Keller to take over as director of administration and compliance for the group, a role usually given to a paralegal. The group hopes a full-time attorney in the slot will help boost its performance. As part of its expansion, Wilson Sonsini plans to unveil a new, proprietary software platform in about six weeks. It will provide Web-based access to private equity fund documents and will include the ability to complete subscription amendments for a private equity fund online through dynamic, self-creating question forms. Copyright (c)2001 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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