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03/23/06

Latham & Watkins announces further associate salary increases
For the second time this year, Latham & Watkins has increased associate salaries.

A raise of $5,000, effective January 1, will be offered to associates at Latham & Watkins. Previously, the firm added $10,000 to associate salaries in New York and $5,000 in all other offices.

The new raise will not affect associates in the firm's New York office, where first-years currently earn $145,000 per year. Fourth-years at the firm will now receive $175,000, and seventh-years will make up to $215,000 per year.

Benefits of law firm networks
Law firm networks are offering an alternative to smaller regional firms that wish to remain independent and avoid acquisition by larger firms.

Many mid-tier firms that have joined national and international law firm networks claim that membership in such networks offers an effective marketing tool and leverage to maintain independence in a competitive marketplace.

Law firm networks gained popularity in the 1980s and 90s when several networks were created for management, specialty practices and general firms. Membership generally requires payment of an initiation fee plus annual costs. Representatives of law firm networks assert that the price of membership is offset by the value of the benefits, which include publicity and client referrals.

Burgeoning lobbying practice in Atlanta
Atlanta-based law firms are steadily developing state lobbying practices by building in-house practice groups or forging partnerships. McKenna Long & Aldridge, Troutman Sanders, Alston & Bird and Holland & Knight all have growing lobbying practices in the Atlanta area.

Most recently, Powell Goldstein formed a strategic partnership with lobbying group Massey & Bowers Public Affairs. Although Massey & Bowers' agreement with Powell Goldstein is not an exclusive one, they plan to work together with clients on various projects and develop a joint marketing scheme.

Susman Godfrey seeks to move to New York City
Houston-based firm Susman Godfrey has expressed interest in establishing a presence in New York. A vote by equity partners at the end of the month will formally cement the plan to break into the New York market.

With offices in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle, the firm is planning a modest entry into the New York office. The firm has subleased an office space for five lawyers in New York. This follows the firm's tradition of launching small satellite offices. Its Seattle office opened in 1995 and now consists of nine lawyers. The demand for a contingent-fee commercial plaintiffs' litigation practice is expected to fuel the firm's growth prospects in New York.

The firm also plans to increase associate salaries in its Texas, Seattle and Los Angeles offices to New York levels following the moves of rivals Vinson & Elkins, Andrews Kurth and Baker Botts.

Lawyer Joke of the day
An affluent lawyer is riding in his Lexus when he looks out the window and sees a man in disheveled clothing on all fours on the ground.

The lawyer slows down to get a better look at the poor guy, who appears to be eating grass.

He stops his Lexus and rolls down the window.

"Excuse me, buddy," shouts the lawyer out his window. "What's going on?"

The poor guy looks up, and through a mouthful, he says, "Nothing much, sir. I'm just eating grass."

"Why?" inquires the lawyer.

"Well, you see, sir, I'm too poor to afford any food. All I have to eat is this grass," says the man.

"My God!" exclaims the attorney. "That's horrible. You must come with my back to my house."

"But I have a wife and three kids," explains the unfortunate man.

"That's no problem," says the attorney. "Bring them all along. I am sensitive to even the slightest human suffering."

The poor man jumps up and runs to fetch his wife and kids. The lawyer waits as the poor man ushers his family into the lawyer's Lexus.

With the whole family in his car, the lawyer peels out.

"We appreciate your kindness, sir," offers the poor man's wife.
"You guys are going to love it at my place," the lawyer says. "The grass is a foot tall!"

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