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Former Chief Judge Edward B. Davis left the federal bench in Miami three months ago because he said he wasn’t pulling in enough dough. But his decision to join Akerman Senterfitt in Miami as head of litigation wasn’t all about money. Davis was wooed by nearly every law firm in town. Akerman’s offer wasn’t the most lucrative, he said, explaining that he just “felt comfortable” with the firm and its chairman, Charlie Schuette. “I did not feel as comfortable with a number of the firms,” said Davis, 67. “I didn’t want to spend a lot of time traveling. This firm seemed to fit me well.” The fact that he’d be joining a colleague, Joseph Hatchett, former chief judge of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, helped his decision. “That gave me a lot of comfort,” Davis said. “He’s happy there.” Additionally, he hit it off well with Schuette. After five or six meetings to discuss the job, the two became social friends, Schuette said. Davis will not work on any cases on which he previously ruled and will avoid day-to-day management of litigation. He doesn’t plan to try any cases in court, noting that Akerman has “a great depth of attorneys.” What he will do is dispense advice, mentor associates and officiate at “mock courts” the firm holds to bone up on appellate arguments. Schuette hopes Davis will lure lucrative receivership appointments from his friends on the bench. And, of course, his very presence will boost the firm’s prestige. The former judge started work Oct. 5, but will have to do with modest digs at the firm for now. He’s in line to get a more appropriate — make that fancier — office once Akerman takes over the sixth floor of the SunTrust International Center downtown, adding to the space it now occupies on the 28th floor. Davis accepted Schuette’s first offer, saying only that it’s “substantially more” than his former $141,000 annual take. But the head of a rival firm, who did not want to be identified, guessed Davis would pull in $300,000 a year, minimum. Holland & Knight, another large Miami firm that made Davis an offer, downplayed any disappointment. “Akerman obviously offered more,” said John Hogan, the firm’s head of litigation. Besides, he said, “We already have two former chief justices of the Florida Supreme Court,” Stephen Grimes and Raymond Ehrlich. “Just to be able to go into their office and ask their opinion on a case is great,” Hogan said. Schuette said Davis nicely fills out Akerman’s judicial contingent and that he doesn’t plan to pursue more. “It’s a compliment to this firm that he chose us,” says Schuette. “We’ve got the two chief judges, we’ll hold it at that.”

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