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Law firms jockeying for recognition as international players can only dream about having what New York�based Epstein Becker & Green’s got: a managing partner who has been knighted by the French government. Tr�s chic. The knight is George Sape, who received the French National Order of Merit, one of the highest honors bestowed by the French government and personally approved by President Jacques Chirac (the “Grand Ma�tre” of the Order). The French Consulate in New York has knighted only four Americans this year. Sape was the lone lawyer. Sape was recognized for his involvement in a French-American museum in France, L’Op�ra Fran�ais de New York, and the Commanderie de Bordeaux (a wine society), among other things. While Sape has worked to promote Franco-American relations and deepen his knowledge of things French — especially cuisine (he has written restaurant reviews for The American Lawyer) and wine — the Francophile did not expect to be knighted for it. “I got a call from the French consul general and he told me he had a message from President Chirac,” recalls Sape. “I thought he was kidding.” Au contraire, the French consul general Richard Duqu� was tr�s serieux. The blue-ribbon Order of Merit, originally a military honor during the reign of Louis XV, was pinned on Sape at a recent reception held at the French Consulate in New York. Not to be crass, but can a blue ribbon make rain? Maybe. Name partner Jeffrey Becker recently took Sape to Cello, a posh Manhattan restaurant, with a client. Smart move. The sommelier, whom Sape knows, brought out a rare wine just to impress his fellow connoisseur. Which proves Sape’s point about mixing business with pleasure. “For me the whole thing is inseparable,” he says, with a knightly flourish.

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