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Akin Gump plans to crack the China market Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is planning to open an office in Beijing within the next 60 to 90 days, according to the firm’s chairman, R. Bruce McLean. The office would be the first in mainland China for the Washington-based firm, which has more than 900 lawyers in 15 offices, including international outposts in London; Moscow; Brussels; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Taipei, Taiwan. The firm plans to provide legal work for Chinese companies in the international trade and energy sectors, both of which have strong connections to the governmental entities based in Beijing, he said. L.A.’s Manatt boosts starting pay to $145K A year after first-year pay raises swept the Los Angeles market-and then the nation-Manatt, Phelps & Phillips is boosting starting salaries to $145,000. “We are recruiting aggressively in the market, and we’re very busy,” said Paul Irving, Manatt’s managing partner. “People don’t make job decisions primarily about money, but it’s clearly a factor.” The raise makes Manatt the second Los Angeles-based firm to hit that mark for first-year associates, following an increase in February by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges. New rules try to bolster judicial accountability Responding to complaints about judicial junkets and conflicts of interest, the Judicial Conference of the United States last week enacted new rules to force judges to use conflict-checking software and to promptly disclose their participation in privately sponsored seminars for which they are reimbursed. Separately, a committee headed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer issued a report recommending modest changes in how federal courts handle ethical complaints that members of the public file against judges. Among the recommendations is one under which judges would seek advice on handling certain complaints from judges of another circuit to avoid “home court” bias. The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist appointed the Breyer committee in 2004, mainly in response to congressional complaints. Fox Rothschild to merge with Grotta Glassman Fox Rothschild of Philadelphia will merge with Grotta, Glassman & Hoffman, a 60-lawyer, management-side labor firm in Roseland, N.J., effective on Oct. 1. The move not only brings Fox Rothschild a labor practice with a roster of corporate clients ripe for cross-selling, but also provides established offices in cities where the 300-lawyer firm wishes to expand. Grotta Glassman has offices in New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. “This is as perfect a fit as we could have imagined,” said Fox Rothschild Co-Chairman Phillip Griffin. He said the two firms were introduced by legal recruiter Gayle Moran of Lawson Legal Recruiters in Short Hills, N.J., in June and met during the next 90 days to forge the merger. H-P, Wilson Sonsini part ways in California probe Hewlett-Packard Co. last week dropped Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as its outside counsel in the California attorney general’s criminal investigation of the company. In a written statement by spokesman Ryan Donovan, the company said that “Hewlett-Packard and Wilson Sonsini mutually agreed it would be in the best interests of both parties for Wilson to terminate its representation of HP in the California attorney general’s inquiry.” Wilson Chairman Larry Sonsini has been Hewlett-Packard’s primary outside counsel for years. The probe by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer centers on whether the company broke the law as it tried to uncover the source of leaks to the news media on deliberations by the company’s board of directors. Texas ruling protects lawyers’ private data The home addresses, home telephone numbers and birth dates of attorneys listed in State Bar of Texas membership records do not have to be disclosed under the state’s Public Information Act, a state judge ruled recently. Travis County District Judge Scott Jenkins’ judgment in State Bar of Texas v. Abbott underscores the tension between the limited concepts of privacy that the courts and the state attorney general have articulated over the past 30 years and the fear of identity theft that stems from today’s easy access to personal information. Jennifer Riggs, the bar’s outside counsel, said that the judgment by Jenkins is the first dealing with the availability of home addresses and home phone numbers under the information act.

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