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04/04/06

Akin Gump raises Texas salaries

After increasing pay in its New York, DC and California offices, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has now raised salaries for its Austin, Dallas and Houston associates.

Retroactive to March 1, first-year associates at the firm will receive a base salary of $135,000 and a $5,000 guaranteed bonus, while second-year associates will earn $145,000 per year. The salaries for third-year to tenth-year associates will range between $150,000 and $195,000.

The 900-lawyer firm has also overhauled its management structure, making associates above fifth-year eligible for the position of counsel, considered a stepping stone towards partnership. The new base salaries for a sixth-year counsel will be $180,000 while seventh through tenth-year counsels will be eligible for $185,000, $190,000, $195,000 and $200,000, respectively.

McCarter & English to merge with Gadsby Hannah
McCarter & English has decided to merge with the 67-lawyer Boston firm Gadsby Hannah.

The new firm will be called McCarter & English and will consist of 430 lawyers in eight offices after the merger. The combined firm will have Gadsby Hannah's Diane McDermott as managing partner in Boston. Partners at both firms will vote on the merger within the next couple of months.

One of the nation's top-200 law firms in terms of revenue, McCarter & English has offices in Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, Hartford and Stamford. A Boston presence will help in expanding its life sciences and financial services practices. With an East Coast focus on the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and financial services industries, the firm is still deciding on a location for the Washington, DC, office.

Gadsby Hannah is a litigation firm with lawyers specializing in international law, arbitration, divorce, construction law and government contracting law. All Gadsby attorneys are expected to remain after the merger.

More strife over Texas law firm tax legislation
Governor Rick Perry's Tax Reform Commission has proposed a new tax policy for partnership entities, including law firms.

As reported last week by The Daily Judged, some of Texas' biggest law firms are lobbying to minimize the potential damage and have formed a Law Firm Legislative Coalition comprised of 18 of the State's biggest firms. The major players in the coalition are Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Andrews Kurth, Baker Botts, Fulbright & Jaworski, Hunton & Williams, Jones Day, Vinson & Elkins and Weil Gotshal & Manges.

These firms are discontented with the proposed deductions cap, owing to differences in tax rates and deductions for various kinds of businesses.

The Coalition is not trying to scuttle the partnership tax, instead suggesting that the tax margin should be adjusted. Other suggestions from the Coalition include increasing the per-person compensation cap from $300,000 to between $500,000 and $550,000.

White & Case to implement new management structure
White & Case is considering a redesigned two-tier management board structure as part of its new governance policy. Also being debated is the introduction of a senior partner role, the addition of a non-lawyer to the management board and the extension of regional management, effective April 1, 2007. Any changes, however, will require an 85% majority vote from the firm's partners.

Managing partner Duane Wall, who is stepping down from his position in 2008, is currently overseeing the consultation process. The firm's eight-partner management committee consists of four partners from the U.S., including firm chairman William Wynn, Kevin Barnard, Timothy Goodell and Eric Berg, who all reside in New York. The other four are based in Europe.

The firm recently broke the one billion-dollar mark for revenues in 2005 and now has more lawyers in the rest of the world than it does in the U.S. It previously overhauled its management structure in 2000.

Browse here to get live updates of attorney positions in law firms available nearby your location.

Lawyer Joke of the day
A lawyer's wife dies. At the cemetery, people are appalled to see that the tombstone reads, "Here lies Phyllis, wife of Murray, L.L.M., Wills, Divorce, Malpractice"

Suddenly, Murray bursts into tears. His brother says, "You should cry, pulling a stunt like this!"

Through his tears, Murray croaks, "You don't understand! They left out the phone number!"

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

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