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Perkins Coie Sues Ex-Associate Who Left for Rival Firm

Perkins Coie has filed a breach of contract suit against former intellectual property associate David Xue.

According to court documents, Xue left the firm for Goodwin Procter in September 2008. Perkins Coie wants to recoup about $36,000 it claims Xue owes the firm for advance payments towards his law school tuition and related expenses.

A letter of employment dated January 23, 2007, states that Xue was offered a position as a patent agent at Perkins Coie prior to his graduation from the University of San Francisco School of Law the following December.

In the interim, Xue, who has a Ph.D in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, would be paid an annual salary of $155,000 plus a $15,000 bonus if he billed 1,950 prorated hours that year.

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Perkins Coie would advance Xue up to $30,000 as a loan for his law school tuition and expenses. The firm also agreed to reimburse Xue for a bar review course and fees for the California bar exam.

Upon Xue’s graduation from law school in December 2007, he would be offered a position as a fourth-year associate at the firm in light of his Ph.D and previous experience as a patent agent.

The letter also states that Perkins Coie would forgive Xue’s law school loans at a rate of 33 percent a year, provided he remain a full time employee of the firm and billed at least 1,850 hours a year. If Xue worked at the firm full time for three years, his entire repayment obligation would be forgiven.

Should Xue terminate his employment with the firm before the three-year period expired, he would be required to repay Perkins Coie for any amount that hadn’t been repaid or otherwise forgiven by the firm.

Perkins Coie is an international law firm based in Seattle, Washington. The firm is ranked number 86 on the list of the world’s largest law firms by 2006 revenue and has been listed on the Fortune Magazine “100 Best Places to Work in America” for the past seven years.[

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