Sharing a Class-Action Fee at Akin Gump

Monday, September 18, 2006

Akin Gump plans to share the wealth from a class-action victory -- at least within the firm.

District-based Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP won $58.5 million as its share in the $468 million settlement of a lawsuit in Spartanburg, S.C., against a medical equipment company accused of engaging in anti-competitive practices in selling beds and other products to hospitals and nursing homes.

The law firm plans to distribute almost 14 percent of its award, more than $8 million, to non-partner employees, from associates to secretaries. The awards start at $500 for newcomers to the firm and $1,000 for anyone on the payroll before January.

"Without the commitment of every member of the team, we would not be successful," Chairman R. Bruce McLean said in a statement. "The firm is sharing the fee earned in the Spartanburg case to demonstrate appreciation for that commitment.

In moves at major firms:

· Saul Ewing LLP of Philadelphia is merging with the 20-member District-based firm of Schmeltzer, Aptaker & Shepard PC, which specializes in labor and employment law. The firms will combine their D.C. offices at the Watergate office building, where the Schmeltzer firm is now located.

· District-based Crowell & Moring LLP opened a New York office. The firm said trial lawyer William J. McSherry Jr., who came from Arent Fox PLLC, and intellectual property lawyer Janet M. MacLeod, who had been with Dorsey & Whitney LLP, have joined as partners based in the new office.

· Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP added three lawyers who were previously with Miller & Chevalier Chartered, to its global trade practice. They are Duane W. Layton, Sydney H. Mintzer and Jeffrey C. Lowe.

· Venable LLP added Stephen K. Gallagher, who specializes in the buying and selling of assets from companies in bankruptcy reorganization, as a partner in its offices in the District and Vienna. He was previously in the Alexandria office of LeClair Ryan PC.

-- Larry Liebert

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