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Large salary hikes may be a thing of the past The party may be over for big-firm associates. Earlier this year, rumors were swirling that some elite New York firms were planning to raise the bar for first-year salaries to $200,000 by year’s end, but economic slowing is dampening the prospect. As law firms face a slowdown in deal activity, associates at California’s largest firms may have to hold tight at the $160,000 scale. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a lot of deals in the pipeline are on the backburner or dead,” said William Urquhart, a leader of Los Angeles’ Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges. Brian Brooks, O’Melveny & Myers’ recruiting partner, noted that “I’d be surprised if there was a significant deviation. I have heard some folks say the New York bonus market will be a little softer this year, and growth among most firms flat.” Chief of San Francisco SEC office goes in-house Helene Morrison IS cashing in her eight years of experience leading the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s San Francisco office to join investment advisory firm Hall Capital Partners LLC as general counsel. Morrison is credited with doubling the size of the SEC office during her tenure and with speeding up enforcement actions, which have most recently included backdating cases against Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and top officials at Apple Inc. The San Francisco-based investment firm manages and advises on about $22 billion in assets, catering to high-net-worth individuals as well as investment companies. Patton Boggs to join the Dubai parade Patton Boggs plans to launch a project office in November in Dubai, the rapidly growing United Arab Emirates city, creating the second base in the Middle East for the Washington firm. “We have a client over there with a large assignment for us, and in order to meet the needs of the client, we’ve agreed to open up a project office,” said Stuart Pape, managing partner of Patton Boggs. Pape wouldn’t name the client, but he says the assignment is related to real estate and should account for about two years’ worth of work. But Patton Boggs might be interested in sticking around longer, depending on client interests. Nixon Peabody launches its first London outpost Nixon Peabody last week unveiled its long-planned London arm, handing the firm its first foreign outpost. The new seven-lawyer branch will be overseen by New York-qualified financial services specialist Stavros Adamidis, with four partners to be based permanently in the United Kingdom. The firm launches the practice with three U.K.-qualified partners � Paul Biggs, Simon Norris and Patrick Leece � and one U.K. associate, plus three U.S. associates. The three U.K. partners had previously practiced at New York-based Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft’s London arm before leaving the U.S. firm last year to set up a project boutique. Panitch Schwarze group is leaving Akin Gump Citing an increase in conflicts, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and the bulk of its Philadelphia intellectual property group will be parting ways. Ronald L. Panitch brought his 28-attorney intellectual property boutique, Panitch Schwarze Jacobs & Nadel, to Akin Gump in 1999, and it will be leaving on Jan. 1, 2008, to form Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel. The group expects to continue a “strong working and referral relationship” with Akin Gump. Reed Smith bulks up its presence in China A year after its merger with Richards Butler UK, Reed Smith will officially add the firm’s Chinese affiliate, Richards Butler Hong Kong, effective on Jan. 1, 2008. Reed Smith will then have a significant presence in Asia, with offices in Hong Kong and Beijing and immediate plans to apply for a license to practice in Shanghai, China. This is the third combination for Reed Smith in 12 months, with the first Richards Butler deal followed closely by a Chicago merger with Sachnoff & Weaver in March. The Hong Kong group will bring Reed Smith to more than 1,500 lawyers across the globe and to annual revenues in excess of $1 billion.

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