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    September 2, 2008  
McKenna Long;
Arnold & Porter;
Holland & Knight

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Howrey got some fanfare when it dropped lockstep associate compensation for '08, but other firms have made the switch more quietly. Last week we checked in on McKenna Long, which launched its own non-lockstep system on January 1.


Managing Partner Mark Flanagan (140 lawyers in DC, 460 worldwide) tells us the firm has four salary levels that associates now progress to on the path to partnership. How quickly depends on their performance in five "core competencies" (skills, client service, work ethic, interpersonal traits, and firm citizenship), plus specialized skills for each practice group. Litigation co-head Phil Bradley led development of the new system, which Mark says is getting a good response. By the way, Mark also tells us the government contracts and IP practices are booming in DC; he says the firm saw signs of a slowdown in late '07 and has made a point of being extra efficient on time entry, billing cycles, and collection.

Capitol Riverfront



When Vernessa Pollard signed up to speak at a Food and Drug Law Institute panel on FDA civil money penalties in February, she didn't know it would lead to a new job. She was with the FDA's Office of Chief Counsel, litigating and advising its five different offices (the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and four others with similarly long names) when she sat on the panel with Dan Kracov, head of A&P's FDA and Healthcare group (over 20 attorneys). After six years on the government side, Vernessa made the leap to A&P in early August. We bet the FDA doesn't get to work in blue jeans.


One factor in Vernessa's decision: A&P's "work-life balance." She's got toddlers at home, the eldest "four going on 44," and apparently a future attorney: "He negotiates over whether he's going to have apple juice in a blue or red cup." She joins a group that just beefed up its investigative side with four other laterals. Congressional investigations are one of Dan's specialties—earlier in the year he advised a maker of blood thinner at a hearing on its product recall. Outside work, he just got back from a summer trip to Cuba, where he joined a group from B'nai B'rith on a visit to the island's isolated Jewish community.


Everyone should love to be one of Alby Salaman's clients. Not just because he's a quality lawyer (Worth magazine called him one of the nation's top 100 in trusts and estates the last two years), but because it would mean you're fabulously rich. Holland & Knight has 70 T&E attorneys nationwide, four in DC. Though he protects the list of clients for whom he saves taxes, Alby tells us it includes a prominent newscaster and a number of pro football and basketball players, even former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo. The fall elections could have a big impact on his practice, with Obama favoring a $3.5 million federal estate tax exemption and 45% rate, and McCain backing a $5 million exemption and 15% rate.

Goulston & Storrs
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