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Ben Johnson III said last week that Richard Hays will succeed him as Alston & Bird’s managing partner when Johnson steps down in 2008. Hays is the brother of Robert Hays Jr., the chairman of Alston’s biggest rival, King & Spalding. Both firms are based in Atlanta but have D.C. offices. Johnson, 63, who has led the firm for almost 10 years, noted that managing partners at Alston cannot serve past age 65. Hays, 46, will be deputy managing partner in the interim. He currently chairs the firm’s finance committee. From 1999 until 2004, Hays headed the firm’s litigation and trial practice group, the biggest of the firm’s 30 groups. “My guess is that during Mr. Hays’ tenure the firm may add more offices,” Johnson said. Hays has practiced at Alston since 1986, when he received his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, as did his brother Robert, 48, who became the chairman of King & Spalding in January. Alston also said that Frank “Rusty” Conner III is the new chairman of the partners’ committee, replacing Todd David. Conner is the managing partner of the firm’s D.C. office, which he opened in 1990.
Meredith Hobbs is a reporter for the Fulton County Daily Report , a sister ALM publication.

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