Joseph Benini was a small-town engineer with an idea about bullets. He never expected to find a big-city patent lawyer who would immediately grasp his concept — for a lead-free bullet that wouldn’t ricochet — let alone become his friend.

In 1998 Benini, a self-described “rural person,” journeyed to Washington, D.C., from his hometown of Kersey, Pa. (population 6,000) to meet with Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner partner Stephen Peterson. He knew little about Peterson or his firm, but after only a few minutes of conversation, Benini, 51, recalls, “I was thinking it was almost too good to be true. There was a connection there.”

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