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US firms retaliate in war for London's top lawyers`This time last year the salary war between UK and US firms was just hotting up with US firms upping the ante by increasing pay rates for London lawyers.`Having waited for the outcome of the UK magic circle firms' April pay reviews, US firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft responded by significantly raising its rates. Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy decided on an increase from mid-Atlantic to New York rates, a move that standardised the pay scale for all Milbank Tweed lawyers.`With reports that New York newly-qualifieds now earn up to £102,000 (The Lawyer, 28 May), last year's increases to a mere £80,000 seem paltry by comparison. In the UK last year, Clifford Chance increased salaries for newly-qualifieds from £35,000 to £42,000, but with US firms applying acceleration, this year's newly-qualifieds at any one of the magic circle firms can expect a remuneration of £50,000, rising to £55,000 with bonuses (The Lawyer, 30 April).``Top Eversheds partner quits in disgrace`Following a reprimand by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS), Eversheds' Norwich senior partner Richard Collier resigned.`The OSS censure was prompted by the revelation that Collier had drawn up a will for an elderly relative in which he was bequeathed £45,000.`Eversheds' Norwich partner Philip Norton was also criticised by the OSS for his part in drawing up the will. Norton is now head of the private capital department in Norwich. Collier also remains at Eversheds but as a consultant, heading the planning and environmental department, also in Norwich.`Denton Wilde completes three-way French merger`Denton Wilde Sapte completed a three-way convergence by merging with its French alliance partner Salès Vincent & Associés and taking over Thomas & Associés, Deloitte & Touche's associate Paris firm.`This realignment of the Parisian market created an 11-partner operation called Denton Salès Vincent & Thomas, which came into official existence on 1 July 2000.`From the Salès Vincent side, founding members Jacques Salès and Alain Vincent were among those to join, while Thomas & Associés lost four partners, including founding partner Jean-Bernard Thomas, to the new firm.`The firm continues to expand with the June arrival of new partner Gavina Gallier from Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn. This coincides with the launch of the firm's new media and technology group.