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Average starting pay for lawyers to rise in 2007 Average starting salaries for attorneys are expected to increase by 4.6% in 2007, according to a report released by Robert Half Legal. Attorneys benefiting the most will be first-year associates at law firms with 35 to 75 attorneys, who will receive salaries that are 7.9% higher than in 2006, the report predicted. Those attorneys are expected to earn $68,250 to $95,750 annually. First-year associates at firms with 10 to 35 attorneys most likely will receive $53,750 to $78,750 per year. And first-year attorneys working at firms with up to 10 attorneys most likely will earn salaries in the range of $55,750 to $78,250, according to the Robert Half Legal 2007 Salary Guide. Crowell adds 20 lawyers from litigation boutique Washington-based Crowell & Moring added 20 lawyers last week from health care and labor litigation boutique King Pagano Harrison. Kent Gardiner, chairman of Crowell, said that the lawyers will strengthen the firm’s health care practice and labor litigation components in Washington and fill out the firm’s recently opened New York office. One bonus of the merger: shared clients such as Medstar Health Inc. and Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. A changing of the GC guard at U.S. Chamber Days after the midterm elections, one of the most influential business lobbies in Washington is facing dramatic changes in its upper management. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is losing longtime Senior Vice President and General Counsel Stephen Bokat, and Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Clark is leaving to become president of the publishing company National Journal Group. With Bokat’s retirement after almost 30 years and Clark’s announcement that she’ll be leaving in January, the chamber is restructuring some of its executive staff positions. David Chavern, who was brought in to lead its capital markets initiative just two years ago and also became chief of staff, took on the chief legal officer position on Nov. 1. It was recently announced that Chavern will also become chief operating officer. Ex-Greenberg tax chief resigns over kickbacks The former chairman of the tax practice at Greenberg Traurig has resigned from the bar for taking more than $1.2 million in kickbacks on tax shelters he recommended to wealthy clients. The incident is the latest ethical embarrassment for 1,667-lawyer Greenberg Traurig. Though largely not itself accused of wrongdoing, the firm has recently dealt with the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Between 1999 and 2002, Jay I. Gordon steered a number of clients, including real estate tycoon and New York transit authority chief Peter S. Kalikow, to tax shelter sponsors who in turn directly paid Gordon more than $675,000 in “referral fees.” Citing defense burden, judge delays KPMG trial Defense attorneys in the KPMG tax fraud case have close to 20 million pages of discovery documents to sift through, and more are arriving every week. And the judge overseeing the litigation estimates that “a basic defense” will cost between $500,000 and $1 million per defendant, a figure some defense attorneys say is low. With those burdens on defendants and their counsel in mind, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York last week delayed indefinitely the criminal trial involving 16 former KPMG employees and two other individuals associated with the accounting company. “It is impossible now to predict with confidence when the charges in the indictment may be tried,” Kaplan said. The trial had been scheduled to start in January, but Kaplan said a dispute over how defendants will pay their ballooning legal bills would not be resolved by then. In June, Kaplan held that Southern District prosecutors violated the criminal defendants’ constitutional rights by pressuring KPMG into cutting off its reimbursement of legal fees.

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