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More salary increases at Texas, Chicago, and LA firms

Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie; Houston's Fulbright & Jaworski; Dallas-based Winstead Sechrest & Minick; and Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro in Los Angeles have all increased associate salaries in their respective offices.

Effective June 1, first year associates at Baker & McKenzie will receive $140,000 base salary and up to $10,000 in bonus for associates billing 2,300 hours. Salaries for second-year to eighth-year associates will range from $145,000 to $190,000 while their bonuses will vary from $15,000 to $50,000.

Fulbright & Jaworski, the only top-Texas firm which had yet to raise salaries, announced $140,000 for first year associates, retroactive to March 1. The 960-lawyer firm did not provide any further salary information.

Beginning April 1, first-year associates at Winstead Sechrest are eligible for $135,000 base salary with a bonus of up to $5,000. Second-year to eighth-year associates' salaries will be between $145,000 and $190,000. Potential bonuses for four-plus-year associates will vary from $25,000 to $45,000. The 311-lawyer firm prefers a merit-based compensation salary structure over minimum billable-hour requirements.

Los Angeles-based Sechrest & Minick; and Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro also raised first year salaries to $135,000 and an additional $5,000 for all other years. The firm recently saw attorney losses which legal analysts attribute to the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping case.

Further on Reed Smith-Richards Butler merger
The Reed Smith-Richards Butler merger does not include Richards Butler's Hong Kong and Beijing offices.

Reed Smith is currently negotiating with the 110-lawyer Hong Kong associate and the 100-lawyer Beijing affiliate to join the merged entity. The Hong Kong practice, which is treated as separate from the London and European partnership of Richards Butler, contributes one-third of Richards Butler's total revenue with a turnover of $52.2 million (£30m). Reportedly, the Hong Kong office was considered responsible for the end of Richards Butler merger talks with Theodore Goddard and Denton Hall. It was also skeptical about the firm's expected merger with Proskauer Rose, which was abandoned last spring.

Although Reed Smith remains eager to add the Hong Kong practice to its stable, it plans to carry on the current arrangement with or without the union. While Reed Smith needs 75 % votes for the merger approval, Richards Butler has lowered the proportion of votes from three-quarters to two-thirds.

Dinsmore & Shohl in merger talks with Thorp Reed
Dinsmore & Shohl, Cincinnati's largest law firm, is in merger talks with Pittsburgh-based Thorp Reed & Armstrong. If successful, the culminating merger would result in Dinsmore's third acquisition since September 2000. Both the firms will benefit greatly from the alliance.

Thorp Reed is Pittsburgh's seventh largest firm with offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Wheeling, and Princeton. Thorp Reed's 100-lawyer office in Pittsburgh would prove a great boon to Dinsmore & Shohl which has a four-attorney office there. The merged firm would enjoy larger access to the West Virginia market, where Dinsmore has Charleston and Morgantown offices and Thorp Reed has a Wheeling practice. The alliance would expand Dinsmore & Shohl's Far East presence with a New Jersey office and, at the same time, bring Thorp Reed into Ohio and Kentucky.

Dinsmore is a 280-lawyer firm and has two subsidiaries, Great Water Capital Partners, a boutique investment bank based in Cincinnati, and Mercantile Title Agency Inc., a full-service title agency with offices in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

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Baker & McKenzie.

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