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Howrey ditches lockstep compensation for merit In a radical departure from the status quo, howrey is getting rid of lockstep compensation for its associates. The 630-lawyer firm said it will introduce a merit-based system of advancement and compensation for associates at the beginning of next year. Most big firms pay their associates based on seniority, but with the latest round of associate salary raises, some firms are turning to new schemes. Industry insiders say other firms will be watching Washington-based Howrey to see whether its “competency model” will be deemed competent by both associates and clients. Nixon Peabody nicks six from Holland & Knight Nixon Peabody lured six government investigations and white-collar defense lawyers from Holland & Knight to its Boston office. Mark D. Seltzer and Brian French join Nixon as partners. Four associates have also made the jump from Holland & Knight’s Boston office: Lisa Lent, Averi Price, Sean Riley and Shannon Schultz. The group adds substantial government investigations and white-collar criminal defense expertise to Nixon, said Laura Ariane Miller, a Washington lawyer who chairs Nixon’s government investigations and white-collar defense team. N.Y. judges’ groups may file suit for pay hike Volunteer attorneys for judges’ organizations are drafting a lawsuit to force New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and the state Legislature to give state judges their first pay raise since January 1999. The complaint is being developed on a pro bono basis by Chadbourne & Parke partners Thomas Bezanson and George Bundy Smith, a former judge on the Court of Appeals, the state high court. “We are preparing a suit,” said Chadbourne & Parke spokesman Andrew Blum. “We intend to go ahead with it as soon as it is clear that the Legislature has yet again abandoned responsibility to assure an appropriate pay raise for the judiciary.” Richmond County Civil Court Judge Philip S. Straniere said the group he heads, the Board of Judges of the Civil Court of the City of New York, is among the judicial associations backing the suit. Departures shrinking Kirkland’s L.A. office Chicago-based juggernaut Kirkland & Ellis has continued to increase headcount, revenue and profits firmwide. But in Los Angeles, key rainmakers are making less rain, and departures in the last six months have reduced the size of the office to 90 lawyers from 115. With some of its leading lawyers reaching a stage where they’re choosing to slow down, around 20 attorneys � half of them partners � have left the Los Angeles office over the last half-year, some for top competitors. “Some of the people who have been powerful figures in the office are moving on to other stages of their careers,” said John Weissenbach, the L.A. partner on the firm’s management committee. “And other partners are now more responsible for generating business,” he added. Cozen O’Connor selects first board of directors One of the final steps in Cozen O’Connor’s succession planning was completed last week, when the Philadelphia firm announced the appointment of its first-ever board of directors. The board will consist of Cozen’s six recently named management-committee members and nine nonmanagement members. Firm founders Stephen A. Cozen and Patrick J. O’Connor and advisory committee member John J. Cunningham appointed the members. Beginning in 2008, the members will be elected by firm shareholders on a staggered-term basis. Lewis and Roca merging with Beckley in Nevada Lewis and Roca, a 170-attorney Phoenix-based firm with offices in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, is merging with one of Nevada’s oldest firms, Beckley Singleton. The firm will do business under the name Lewis and Roca, and it will be one of the largest in Nevada, with 57 attorneys practicing in the state and 200 attorneys firmwide. The merger will be effective as of Aug. 1. Fifteen shareholders of Beckley Singleton will join Lewis and Roca as partners, two attorneys will join as of counsel and the remaining 17 will be associates. Ken Van Winkle Jr., Lewis and Roca’s managing partner, said discussions to form the partnership have been held since December 2006. Lewis and Roca was looking to grow its presence in Nevada and found that joining forces with Beckley Singleton was the best fit, he said.

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