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Circuits wary of plan for policing federal bench The national committee in charge of fashioning new rules for disciplining wayward federal judges decided to withhold the circuit chiefs’ critiques � including those from 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Schroeder. And while Schroeder said last week that she will abide by that edict and not disclose her committee’s specific comments, she did highlight a concern that she said the 9th Circuit shares with others across the country. “We have always been concerned in the 9th Circuit about maintaining the ability of our circuit to handle the issues relating to the West, and to try to avoid undue centralization in Washington,” Schroeder said. “That is kind of a theme � a tension between the role of circuit councils and the administrative office.” Debevoise, Simpson match Cravath bonuses Two more New York law firms have followed Cravath, Swaine & Moore in announcing year-end and one-time special bonuses for associates. Debevoise & Plimpton and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett both said last week they would pay year-end bonuses ranging from $35,000 for first-years to $65,000 for senior associates, as well as a special bonus ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. The year-end bonuses were the same as both firms paid last year, but the special bonus is a new wrinkle in associate compensation that Cravath introduced on Oct. 29 as a means of rewarding associates for the firm’s strong year. McDermott will add lower-paid associates While some firms turn to contract attorneys or even ship grunt work overseas to contain legal costs, McDermott, Will & Emery plans to create a new tier of attorneys to handle lower-end tasks at lower billing rates. The new hires � the firm is looking into starting with a pilot group of 15 � will be lawyers “with good pedigrees” who have practiced for a few years but don’t want to deal with big-firm hours, said partner Robert Mallory. Instead, the new hires will put in more like 30 to 40 hours and be paid something like 25% less, though an exact pay range has yet to be decided. “They’ll have a status within our structure that’s brand-new,” Mallory said. Clifford gets Jones Day partner for Beijing office Clifford Chance has strengthened its Asia corporate finance practice with the hire of Jones Day partner Bruce Schulberg, it was announced last week. Schulberg, who has more than 15 years’ experience of project finance and cross-border investments, joins the Magic Circle law firm’s Beijing office. Prior to joining Jones Day, Schulberg was with the now-defunct Coudert Brothers, whose China practice was later absorbed by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Chadbourne, Watson merger talks are stalled Long-running merger talks between New York’s Chadbourne & Parke and London’s Watson, Farley & Williams appear to have stalled. While negotiations between the two firms are still continuing, a Watson Farley partner told Legal Week, an affiliate of The National Law Journal, that frustration is building up over the length of the talks, which are being headed by the firms’ managing partners. The talks between the firms began last January. Chadbourne has five offices in Europe.

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