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Dechert acquires most of Coudert’s Paris office Dechert announced last week that, effective on Oct. 1, it would acquire 32 attorneys from the Paris office of the disbanding Coudert Brothers. The addition more than quadruples the size of Dechert’s existing 10-lawyer Paris office. New York-based Coudert, a pioneering international law firm, announced last month it was disbanding. The firm had been in merger discussions with Baker & McKenzie, but failed to reach an agreement. Last week, however, Baker announced the acquisition of 70 lawyers from Coudert’s New York office. Dechert’s largest office is in Philadelphia, and it has six European offices. Tulane clamps down on visiting student status Citing “truly perilous times for Tulane,” the New Orleans law school has announced that it will not allow its students to attend other law schools as visitors in spring 2006 as it did this semester when Hurricane Katrina hit the region. Gary Roberts, deputy dean for the law school, posted an announcement on Tulane’s Web site last week stating that the hurricane has cost the school “tens of millions of dollars.” In the meantime, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, which relocated many of its operations to Houston, closed last week due to Hurricane Rita. 2d Circuit sentencings nation’s most lenient Federal judges within the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are apparently relishing their newfound ability to depart more easily from the rigidity of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Since the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in U.S. v. Booker and U.S. v. Fanfan rendered the sentencing guidelines advisory last January, less than half (48.8%) of all the sentences handed down within the 2d Circuit have fallen within guideline ranges, according to the latest data provided by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. As for adhering to the guideline ranges post-Booker, the 5th Circuit has the highest rate at 71.5%. “Over the last several years, I have often heard federal judges say from the bench that they would have imposed a lower sentence but for the guidelines,” said Michael A. Fitzpatrick, president of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. A hike in first-year salaries starts ripple Irell & Manella will raise first-year associates’ base salary to $135,000 next year, a $5,000 increase that is already sending ripples through the Southern California legal industry. Upon hearing news of the hike, another Los Angeles firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, quickly followed suit, lifting its first-year base by $5,000 to match Irell. “We’d have to be brain-dead not to consider what a primary competitor is doing,” partner William Urquhart said. “There aren’t very many elite law firms in America and even fewer in Los Angeles-Irell is one and we’d like to think we are also.” Irell, which has 164 attorneys in Los Angeles, has offices in Century City, Calif., and Newport Beach, Calif. Quinn Emanuel has 145 lawyers in Los Angeles. Giuliani firm gets $400K per month from Delta Delta Air Lines Inc. has paid a consulting firm of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani $2.4 million and expects to pay it another $400,000 per month for advice on working through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The bills to Giuliani Capital Advisors were disclosed in papers the airline filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in New York. The capital group was started last year when parent company Giuliani Partners acquired the corporate finance practice of Ernst & Young, which has experience with airline restructurings. The Giuliani team is one of many Delta has retained to provide bankruptcy work, according to court filings. Law firms include Davis Polk & Wardwell; Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; and Debevoise & Plimpton. Delta has hired Blackstone Group of New York as its lead financial adviser during Chapter 11 proceedings. Blackstone already has received about $1.1 million, will be paid $200,000 per month during the proceedings, and will get an additional $10.5 million when the restructuring is completed, according to a court filing.

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