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06/13/06

Strength in numbers for Heller Ehrman


San Francisco-based firm Heller Ehrman has beefed up its ranks on the East Coast by recruiting entire attorney groups from other law firms. This year, 23 new attorneys have joined the firm's New York City and DC offices. Heller Ehrman firm recruited eight attorneys from Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and nine from Swidler Berlin LLP.

Experts see this as part of an emerging trend, a hiring boom for attorneys. As major West Coast firm seek to stake a claim on the East Coast, the number of attorney positions is increasing. The notable exception is for female attorneys, who are leaving firms by the droves after their third-years. Heller Ehrman is making a special effort to retain its female attorneys with new policies aimed at increasing the satisfaction rate for female employees.

A leader in providing innovative legal services to clients throughout the world, Heller has more than 700 attorneys in 12 offices in the United States and overseas in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Fox Rothschild ups salaries
Fox Rothschild has increased its starting salary by $15,000 to $125,000 for its new batch of first-year associates, effective September 1. Starting salaries in the firm's Atlantic City and Pittsburgh offices, however, shall remain unchanged at $115,000 and $110,000 respectively.

Mid- to senior-level associates, those who have been with the firm for a number of years, recently received retention bonuses to prevent them from moving on to larger law firms.

Other law firms that have moved up to the $125,000 mark in 2006 are Drinker Biddle & Reath; Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen; Duane Morris; Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll; Blank Rome; Pepper Hamilton; Saul Ewing; and Buchanan Ingersoll.

Employers jumpy over new immigration law
Companies have been turning a Nelson's eye to the status of foreign workers before hiring them and this appears to have now caught up with them. Employers have to pay heavy fines if found in violation of immigration and labor laws. They are now nervous and contacting labor and employment law firms for legal advice.

The issue has been sparked by the April raid on plants of IFCO Systems, a Netherlands-based pallet and crate maker that is headquartered in Houston. Reportedly the largest raid ever in the history of the national immigration service, it resulted in the arrest of almost 1,200 illegal workers at IFCO plants in 26 states, including Georgia.

A spate of audit requests for worker related paperwork by companies has emanated from this event. One of the main worries for employers is over the seemingly innocuous I-9 form required to be filled out for any employee joining a company. They are seeking assurance from their attorneys that their paperwork is in order. The I-9 form has assumed top priority for human resources managers.

Industries targeted by labor officials include agriculture, construction, food services, hospitality, and textiles.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.

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