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02/12/07

Hike in salaries spreads to other cities

In response to the recent hike in salaries by New York and California firms, several others firms are feeling the pressure to follow suit. Two Philadelphia firms, Blank Rome and DLA Piper, already raised the salaries and others are weighing their options.

To attract and hold excellent lawyers, Blank Rome has announced to pay an increase of $10,000 to its first-year associates in Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, and of $15,000 to its New York first-years. Despite having raised the salaries recently, considering the market forces, DLA Piper has again announced a raise for its first-year associates. The firm will pay $135,000 to its Philadelphia first years, $160,000 to its New York and Washington, DC, first years, and $ 145,000 to Chicago first years.

Other associate levels in both the firms are also likely to get an increase but not at the same rate. The increase in the salaries is to be implemented retroactive to Jan. 1. Fox Rothschild is not likely to raise the salaries soon as the company is not looking to be the market leader in terms of salary increases. Addressing the concerns in the market that the clients will have to bear the burden arising out of the raise in the associates' salaries, the firm Cozen O'Conner wants to assure its clients that the firm will remain competitive.

Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll is not too concerned about the rise in the salaries, as it doesn't have a New York office. Rather, the firm increases salaries on a continued basis. The raise by New York firms has affected even the Chicago-based firms. Announcing a raise in the salaries of their first years, two of the city's largest firms, Sidley Austin and Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, will pay $160,000 in New York, and $145,000 in Chicago and elsewhere.

DLA Piper's major expansion moves
Promotions are happening in DLA Piper offices across the globe in key practice areas. Altogether, 66 lawyers have been promoted to partner in 2007, which includes 27 newly elected partners across Europe and Asia and a further 39 in the U.S.

The London office, which saw 10 promotions in seven practice areas, had the largest increase of new partners. The Birmingham, Leeds, and Liverpool offices had two partners promoted each. The remaining 11 promotions were made in Beijing, Amsterdam, CEE, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Kyiv, Madrid, Milan, St. Petersburg, and Sheffield.

In the U.S., seven promotions were made in Chicago, five in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, and four in New York and San Diego. The remaining 14 promotions were made in Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Nigel Knowles, joint CEO at DLA Piper stated that the new team of partners' dedication and commitment will strengthen the firm's vows to serve its clients spread all over the world better. In addition to the above, DLA Piper also promoted 21 lawyers the newly created legal directors' posts. 111 lawyers were promoted to associate level across Europe and Asia.

In another move, the firm extended its support to the DirectWomen program, established by the American Bar Association, the ABA Section of Business Law, and Catalyst, Inc. This is an initiative to promote women lawyers to Boards of Directors within the firms. Aimed at fostering greater gender diversity required for best corporate governance practices, the program also envisages identifying, developing, and supporting a select group of such accomplished women attorneys.

Prominent project and Islamic finance specialist, Oliver Agha also joined the firm as a partner in its Dubai office. Oliver, a U.S. attorney, was earlier head of projects at Clifford Chance 's Saudi Arabian law firm affiliate, Al-Jadaan. There he established the projects team advising clients on ground-breaking Islamic finance structures and major project finance deals.

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