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Porter & Hedges Raises On Aug. 28, Houston’s Porter & Hedges joined the crowd of BigTex firms that have hiked first- and second-year associate salaries to $160,000 and $170,000 respectively over the past two months. The Porter & Hedges raises became effective Sept. 1 at the 94-lawyer firm. Third-year associates also will receive a pay increase but Charles Baker, a partner on the management committee, says the firm has decided not to release the amount. Baker also says the firm’s more senior associates will receive raises on an individual basis, not in lockstep. Baker says Porter & Hedges will no longer set a yearly billable-hour requirement for associates to meet to receive bonuses. Instead, Baker says, associates are eligible to receive bonuses even if they don’t meet billable-hour targets. Baker says the firm has watched as other BigTex firms raised first- and second-year associate salaries to the New York market rate but took a wait-and-see approach to raises for more senior associates. At Porter & Hedges, Baker says, the firm ultimately opted for a more individualized approach. “We didn’t want to do something that was a knee-jerk reaction. We wanted to do something fair and right,” he says. Seminar, Not Seminary If you like your CLE credits lightly sprinkled with Christian virtue, the Christian Trial Lawyers Association’s annual seminar was the place for you. But if you were one of 100 or so attendees and expected to get mega-doses of that old-time religion, the CTLA meeting might have been disappointing. “There was no proselytizing going on, no strong religious element, just the best CLE we could provide,” says Houston trial lawyer W. Mark Lanier of the Lanier Law Firm, who founded the CTLA in 2003. On its Web page, the CTLA, which has 590 members around the country, says its purpose, among other things, is to dispel the conventional wisdom that all trial lawyers are greedy, selfish and prideful and to advance Christian principles through ethical training to colleagues. To that end, the nonprofit organization has staged three seminars; the latest held in Houston Aug. 23 and 24 employed a secular baseball theme: “Major League Trial Tactics Seminar.” The lineup of speakers featured, among others, Kenneth Starr, dean of Pepperdine University School of Law, who reflected on his 35 years in the legal profession; Lanier, who talked about the art of persuasion; Dallas jury selection expert Lisa Blue, who prepped attendees on how to give an effective 30-minute voir dire; and Harris County 11th District Judge Mark Davidson, who gave his “rock and roll ethics presentation,” Lanier says. For lawyers looking for more spirituality, there was the CTLA-sponsored prayer breakfast for members who attended the seminar. But other than requiring that the speakers “not use profanity or take the Lord’s name in vain,” says CTLA executive director Charles Mickey, the seminar was about nuts-and-bolts trial tactics for lawyers who want to model high ethical standards in their professional and personal lives. But that didn’t stop the CTLA from receiving hate mail from lawyers who resented CTLA’s brochure promoting the seminar. “A few lawyers interpreted it to mean that we felt only Christian lawyers had high standards,” Mickey says. “But our mission is to honor Christ in the legal profession, and that doesn’t mean there aren’t good, solid lawyers who are not Christian.” Plans are already under way for next year’s seminar.

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