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01/31/07

Veterans, lament firms, are getting a little scarce downtown!

Law firms who opened offices in Boston and strengthened practice areas with lateral muscles are increasingly finding further expansion getting tougher. The reason is, as per law.com, the intense competition between national and international firms in the area.

Firm seniors often lament the ostensibly endless period of negotiation while hiring lateral partners takes its toll on the office and practice areas which clients have to suffer for. Hence few recruiters try to arm-twist these haggling partners into agreeing with the bait of lucrative packages, which in turn sparks off another competition among the firms to hook onto the scarce local talent through pay packets. Irrespective of the paucity, firms like Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal are latest in the line to have marched into Boston valiantly and set their mark in the area. For Pepper Hamilton, of counsel Leonard Schneidman joined the firm in Boston from Foley Hoag, while a partner and an associate mans Sonnenschein Nath's Boston fort. Both the firms' higher-ups are hopeful of strengthening their teams by this year-end.

Among the anglers who could fill in their catch-buckets, is DLA Piper who has caught four to make a total of 56, but wants more. It aims, according to Elliot Surkin, the firm's Boston office's managing partner, to regain its former stand of 125 names in the Boston roster. He believes this will be somewhat easy due to their reputation as a firm having its roots in the area. The newcomers, he opines, might find the task steep. Of the two Philadelphia-based law firms with offices in Boston, Duane Morris is yet to hire new partners account and is still stuck at 30. The firm still hopes to climb up to the 75 mark, and soon. The other, Wolf Block Schorr and Solis-Cohen, has four Boston partners and six associates.

However, the key to emerge a winner has been exemplified by firms like Greenberg Traurig. In its seventh year in Boston, the firm's roster has 80 heads. When asked about the attrition rate, recruiters from placement agencies like Kwatcher Legal Placement, or Sullivan Consulting Group Inc. opine that some firms retain their old hands through thick and thin. They go all out to work with the veterans at the firm, who are indecisive and are susceptible to get swayed to the lure of moolah. The bonuses then fly high in such cases, they remarked, sometimes reaching figures like $100,000 and $150,000.

Greenberg Traurig bolsters real estate practice in NY
Greenberg Traurig, LLP, has announced several appointments to its New York real estate department. Craig H. Solomon, Gary S. Kleinman, Howard R. Shapiro, Joseph D. D'Angelo, Nicole Fenton, Howard Schochet, Dana Gallo, and Andrew Kellner, along with a number of associates, have joined the firm's New York real estate practice, which now has more than 65 lawyers. The move already seems to have borne fruit, since the law firm has negotiated some of the largest deals in the history of the real estate industry. A full-service law firm with more than 1,600 attorneys, Greenberg Traurig is ranked seventh on The American Lawyer's AmLaw 100 listing of the largest law firms in the U.S., based on number of lawyers.

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