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Lawyer Got Options at Low

October 03, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Lawrence W. Sonsini, chairman of law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, was on Novell Inc.'s board when the directors awarded themselves 50,000 stock options each in 1999 -- at what turned out to be a 17-month low in the share price, according to the Recorder, a San Francisco-based legal publication.

The timing of Novell's Oct. 26, 1999, grants raises questions about whether the options were issued when Novell said they were, the Recorder said Monday.

Scores of tech companies are under federal investigation for possible option manipulation in recent years including backdating, or cherry-picking favorable option prices after the fact.

Sonsini, a leading Silicon Valley attorney, has been under scrutiny for his role in advising tech firms on options. But the Recorder said its review of SEC documents "suggests Sonsini's involvement with suspiciously dated options wasn't limited to those he approved for other people."

A Wilson Sonsini spokeswoman didn't return a call seeking comment.

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