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Put a bunch of lawyers together and they never seem to agree on anything. But when it comes to music, the attorneys who make up the Broadband Pickers are in perfect harmony. The North Texas band, whose members include five lawyers and one businessman, entertains fans at work affairs and community events with its brand of bluegrass. “I don’t know if it’s because they like what we play or because we’re free,” lawyer and band co-founder Terry Schpok, a corporate and securities partner in Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in Dallas, jokes of the appeal of the Broadband Pickers. The appeal to the musicians is the enjoyment and relaxation they experience when playing. Their listeners just like the music. J. Kenneth Menges Jr., the partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Dallas office, says the Pickers are first-rate musicians. He recruited them to play at summer associate events. The band plays for free. “They are quite a talented and creative group,” Menges says. “They were probably the hit of our summer recruiting programs when they played at a happy hour that we organized here.” Schpok, 50, a banjo player, organized the band in early 2002. It all started with Schpok inviting friends to his home for a jam session and evolved into the Broadband Pickers. The musicians, 40- to 50-somethings who met either as fellow lawyers or through their legal work, picked a name that reflected their breadth of interests from technology to music. Dallas solo Michael Scates, a business litigator, plays guitar and serves as the lead singer. (“Mike knows all the words to every song ever written,” Schpok claims.) Jonathan Hustis, general counsel of MetaSolv Software Inc. in Plano and a classically trained musician, plays violin and mandolin. By day, Christopher Rourk is patent and intellectual property counsel at Akin Gump; by night, he’s the band’s bass player. Dallas solo Paige Blackmon, piano player and vocalist, provides the musical arrangements for the group. The nonlawyer in the group is Suresh Mathews, guitarist and an executive with CompuCom in Dallas, as well as the resident technical expert and owner of state-of-the art sound equipment. Schpok, who also plays the guitar and mandolin, picked up his banjo-playing skills while attending college at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. Later, when he was a student at Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Ind., he played at school assemblies. Hustis calls Schpok an impressive musician. He says making time for the band is worthwhile for the enjoyment of playing and the chance to contribute to a good cause. “We really clicked because everyone really likes to play,” Schpok says. THE FANS One of the Broadband Pickers’ biggest fans is Peggy Schpok, Terry’s wife. She notes how much fun the players have when performing. “It’s a form of relaxation for them as well as a chance to do something good for others,” Peggy Schpok says. “They all lead stressful lives. They’re so happy and have so much enthusiasm when they’re playing.” Another fan is Pam Gerber, associate director of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of North Texas, which helps companies make philanthropy part of their business plans. On Sept. 11, the band pulled out all the stops and entertained lawyers and business people participating in a day of service in Denton County arranged by the foundation. The participants helped spruce up Camp Summit, which provides camping and recreation for disabled children and adults. The Broadband Pickers — joined that day by Dean Baxter, a member of the Texas Fiddle Band and a retired Texas Instruments engineer who was on the team that invented the silicon chip for integrated circuits — played a repertoire of patriotic and bluegrass music, including “America the Beautiful,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Dueling Banjos.” Gerber says the band was the perfect addition to the Sept. 11 event. “It was inspirational,” she says, adding that Schpok is the first attorney she’s met able to pick out a tune on a banjo. Despite the enthusiastic response from listeners, the Broadband Pickers cling to their amateur status. They have no tour bus, no groupies and no roadies. No one asks for an autograph. “Everyone has a day job,” Schpok says. “This is not a professional band.” Despite their busy schedules, the musicians manage to work in time to practice and perform. They have no set practice schedule and getting together takes real effort on their part. One day this past summer, Schpok launched a $200 million securities filing, gave a speech to a section of the State Bar of Texas and ended his day by playing with the Broadband Pickers. He says, “Most of the band members remember the Rolling Stones from their original tour days, and like the Rolling Stones, we are still having fun.”

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