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Wake Up Call: Latham’s First-Half Associate Hires Soar

July 28, 2021, 12:45 PM

In today’s column, with deal volume booming on both sides of the Atlantic, the associate talent wars have reached London; a new Diversity Lab program takes aim at “inherent biases” in the way law firms assign work; a litigation boutique’s salary hike for associates is far above the Davis Polk standard but its overall compensation is still sub-market, a report says.

  • Leading off, Latham & Watkins has hired 274 associates, ahead of Kirkland & Ellis, with 202, in the year’s first half, according to a new report that cites remote work and soaring deal volume as key factors fueling demand for legal talent in the U.S. (The American Lawyer) The talent wars have crossed the Atlantic, as U.K. law firms find themselves forced to compete with large bonuses and salary hikes handed out by their U.S. rivals to attract and retain associates. (Financial Times)
  • As soaring Delta-variant covid infections and low vaccination rates raise alarms in the legal profession, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers urged the state’s court system to return to virtual court for non-essential hearings. (Daily Business Review) Florida-founded Akerman said its attorneys and consultants can work remote indefinitely, while some staff may be allowed to work remote. (American Lawyer) Paul, Weiss managing partner Brad Karp, in an email to staff last week, said unvaccinated personnel will not be allowed to enter the firm’s offices. (The American Lawyer)
  • Elite litigation firm Williams & Connolly announced salary hikes that beat the Davis Polk scale by a wide margin, but the firm offers no bonuses of any kind, this report says. (Above The Law) Lawyers with in-house experience at the Food and Drug Administration are in demand but there aren’t many of them, recruiters say. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Brexit took the U.K. out of an international treaty that governs cross-border civil and commercial legal disputes and it hasn’t managed to get back in. That absence is a big threat to Britain’s multibillion dollar legal services industry, according to reports. (CNN) (
  • First lady Dr. Jill Biden’s chief of staff, former Winston & Strawn partner Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, is President Joe Biden’s pick for ambassador to Spain. Reynoso was U.S. ambassador to Uruguay for Barack Obama. (Politico)
  • Nixon Peabody and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe are piloting an app from a new Diversity Lab program that targets “inherent biases” in the way law firms make work assignments; Volkswagen U.K.’s legal department launched a paid internship aimed at improving diversity and social mobility in the legal industry. ( International) A minority firm incubator in Orlando spawned a Black-owned intellectual property law firm. (Daily Business Review)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Fox Rothschild grabbed Winston & Strawn’s patent prosecution practice leader Pejman Sharifi in New York as a partner in its intellectual property department; Norton Rose Fulbright acquired Denver-based cybersecurity and privacy partner David Kitchen, who arrives after close to 17 years at Baker Hostetler. (
  • Cozen O’Connor added construction law attorney Wendy Klein Keane as a member in Philadelphia. She was previously at home builder company Toll Brothers as vice president and litigation and risk management counsel. She started her career at Pepper Hamilton, which merged into Troutman Pepper. ( Carlton Fields hired construction litigator Alexa Nordman in Tampa; Stradley Ronon hired two litigation associates in Philadelphia: David A. Doty was previously at Fox Rothschild and Javier P. Gonzalez was previously an assistant prosecutor for Middlesex County. (
  • Blue Shield of California promoted vice president, deputy general counsel, chief risk and compliance officer Hope Scott, to senior vice president and general counsel, effective Aug. 9. Scott also leads the company’s diversity, equity & inclusion council. ( Synchronoss Technologies, Inc., a cloud, messaging, and digital platform company, promoted Christina Gabrys, its assistant general counsel and chief compliance officer, to chief legal officer. (Yahoo! Finance)


  • New York-based legaltech marketplace Priori Legal said it will be expanding to offer services from legal technology and law companies, not just attorneys and law firms. To start, LawGeex, Factor and QuisLex are joining the platform, with other companies joining later. (

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at