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Partners at San Francisco’s Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison have designed a plan to keep the firm’s 1,000 staff members content, quiet and at their desks. Opting for a carrot approach — the stick is saved for the associates — Brobeck has started a venture fund for all non-lawyer personnel that mirrors the investment funds the firm already has in place for its partners and associates. Under the deal, the firm will invest close to $1.25 million — roughly $1,000 per staffer — every year at no cost to the employee. Most of that money will be invested in emerging high-tech start-ups. “These are primo investment opportunities,” says firm chairman and media darling Tower Snow Jr. He adds that the aim of the plan is retention. “Associate compensation increases required the firm to re-evaluate how we are treating staff,” Snow says. “They are critical to a firm’s success.” To show even more good will, the firm Monday handed out $1,000 Valentine’s Day checks to every staffer at the firm.

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