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SHARTSIS FRIESE HIKES SALARIES FOR ASSOCIATES Following pay hikes at other law firms across the state that have altered the market average, Shartsis Friese partners officially agreed last week to bolster associate salaries at the 53-lawyer firm. “We’ve always committed to employing high-quality attorneys, and we’ve always paid market rates,” said Paul Feasby, the firm’s chief operating officer. “It was a very brief discussion.” Under the new structure, first- and second-year associates will receive a $10,000 boost in pay, to $135,000 and $140,000 respectively. Pay for third-years will increase to $145,000, fourth-years to $150,000 and fifth-years to $165,000. Finally, sixth- and seventh-year associates will earn $175,000 and $185,000 respectively. Associates are also eligible for a seniority-based merit reward program for hours billed above the firm’s 1,850-hour requirement. Implemented in 2000, an associate billing 1,950 hours or more a year is eligible for a $5,000-$25,000 bonus, depending on seniority. � Petra Pasternak FORMER MARSH GC JOINS O’MELVENY NEW YORK � William Rosoff, the former general counsel of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., has joined O’Melveny & Myers as a senior partner. Rosoff was the chief lawyer for Marsh, the world’s largest insurance brokerage firm, from October 2000 until November 2004, when he resigned in the wake of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s civil suit charging the firm with rigging bids for insurance contracts and steering clients to insurers that paid it kickbacks. O’Melveny & Myers Chairman Arthur Culvahouse said he expected Rosoff, a veteran mergers and acquisitions lawyer, to take a leading role in developing the firm’s New York transactional practices. Prior to joining Marsh, Rosoff had been general counsel of the former RJR Nabisco Inc., where he dealt with both tobacco litigation and complicated restructuring in which the company spun off its Nabisco food business. He was also a partner for many years at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Rosoff played a central role in the drama leading up to Spitzer’s suit against Marsh, which settled the claims in February 2005 for $850 million. Rosoff was widely reported to have taken a contentious tack in discussions with Spitzer’s office, insisting there had been no wrongdoing at Marsh and that the disputed practices were standard in the industry. Spitzer reportedly made settlement talks contingent on the removal of Rosoff and then-CEO Jeffrey Greenberg. � New York Law Journal ON EVE OF TRIAL, MERCK SEEKS TO SEVER CASES NEWARK, N.J. � Merck & Co. Inc. is seeking to sever the cases of two plaintiffs that a judge plans to try together in the Vioxx trial set to begin Monday in Atlantic City. While both plaintiffs allege to have suffered heart attacks after taking the drug for more than two years before, the drug maker argues that the facts, witness testimony and scientific and marketing evidence presented by each would confuse jurors to Merck’s disadvantage. Merck’s lawyers say the “threshold difference . . . has to do with the length of each man’s Vioxx usage.” They argue that plaintiff Thomas Cona’s pharmaceutical records show he was given less than five months of Vioxx prescriptions, while co-plaintiff John McDarby refilled his prescription every month for 48 months. “Unlike McDarby where the plaintiff’s regular prescriptions and length of usage are unlikely to be subject to any significant challenge, . . . in Cona there is a glaring contradiction between the amount of Vioxx Mr. Cona says he used and the amount reflected in Mr. Cona’s medical records,” attorney Hope Friewald writes in a brief supporting Merck’s motion. “The inescapable conclusion is that Cona is not a long-term use case at all, and thus should not be tried with McDarby.” Cona’s lawyer, W. Mark Lanier, says he’ll have no difficulty proving Vioxx use for more than two years, saying Cona’s doctor often supplied him with free samples. Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee, who is in charge of New Jersey’s Vioxx litigation, agreed to consolidate the two cases last December, at the request of plaintiffs lawyers who wanted to thwart Merck’s plans to try the more than 4,200 New Jersey Vioxx cases individually. Higbee told plaintiff lawyers that in the next three groups of cases scheduled for trial, she wants plaintiffs who took Vioxx for similar lengths of time. Merck vowed to file an opposing motion and has done so on the eve of trial. � New Jersey Law Journal

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