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Nervous law school students regularly visit Fenwick & West’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters hoping to make a favorable impression. Later this month, scores of business school students will do the same. Fenwick is a main sponsor of the Jungle Business Plan Challenge, and the firm will host the event’s semi-final and final “pitch-off” rounds April 29-30, in which 32 teams of MBAs-in-training tout their visions for commercial success. The competition is more than just an academic exercise. Contestants will be vying for $45,000 in seed money, and, more important, the chance to start a relationship with Silicon Valley financiers. Last year’s competition featured judges from Charles River Ventures, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. Jungle Media Group, the event organizer, has not yet disclosed which Valley-based venture capitalists will be among this year’s judges. Samuel Angus, a partner in Fenwick’s corporate group, will serve as a judge for the second year in a row. After judging last year’s event in New York, Angus talked to the organizers about holding this year’s competition in Silicon Valley. “The sophistication of the plans is really quite high,” says Angus. “Often times the teams will be populated not only by students, but professors will be on the teams of advisers.” While Fenwick has picked up clients from business plan contests in the past, Angus says the main purpose of hosting the event is to spread the firm’s name among up-and-coming entrepreneurs. “It’s less for immediate client and recruitment and more to support and develop our reputation among these types of programs and business school people who are going to go on and become the movers and shakers of the business world,” says Angus.

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