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- "You wanna know what I believe? I believe that you are way out of your depth in this matter. So, next time you want to come in here and tell me what I'm doing wrong, you are welcome to keep it to yourself! Because I don't care!"
- ― Howard Hamlin.
Howard Hamlin is the name partner and general go-to guy toeing the company line for hugely successful Albuquerque law firm Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill. Hamlin is one of life’s winners. His good fortune, sun-kissed looks, and more than ample charm prove to be a constant source of frustration for Jimmy as is his relationship with Chuck McGill. He appears to be a primary antagonist in season 1, untill it is revealed he is simply following orders from Chuck McGill. Despite this, his actions still make him a secondary antagonist in season 2.
At some point, Howard's father founded the Hamlin & McGill law firm with Chuck McGill. After being persuaded by his father, Howard joined the firm (eventually making the new name Hamlin, Hamlin, McGill) and eventually it became one of the most successful law firms in Albuquerque.
During Jimmy's time working as a mailroom clerk for Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill, Howard and Chuck discovered that Jimmy was working on becoming a lawyer. After all the congratulations within the firm, Howard speaks with Jimmy briefly, telling him that the firm will not hire him ("RICO").
Due to Chuck's "extended leave of absence" from HHM, Howard practically assumes the single leading position in the firm. Nonetheless, Chuck receives checks, the latest one mentioned amounted to $26,000, as a partner of the firm. Jimmy confronts Howard and a few other associates with the torn pieces of the check accusing them of cheating his brother out of his rightful share and demands a $17 million severance package on behalf of Chuck ("Uno").
Jimmy tries to seize a profitable case by offering his services to Craig and Betsy Kettleman, but fails to do so, which leads to the Kettlemans finally hiring HHM as their representative law firm. When circumstances depict a missing person case, Howard is determined to exclude Jimmy from the investigations at the Kettleman's house although Jimmy could provide essential content ("Nacho").
In reaction to Chuck advising Jimmy to change his name as an attorney to avoid mistakings with HHM, Jimmy intentionally evokes imitation in public by copying the layout of an HHM banner showing Howard for his own advertisement. In the following court action, the judge decides in Howard's favor thus commanding Jimmy to remove his banner. However, Jimmy turns the tide in his favor by combining the banner removal with a publicity maneuver to gain local popularity. Upon seeing these latest news Howard grudgingly comments Jimmy's action as a mere PR gag ("Hero").
As Jimmy finds a very profitable new case Chuck offers his help and begins a temporary law partnership with his brother. Later on, he also persuades Jimmy into striking up a cooperation with HHM, an option Jimmy refuses to take at first. When Jimmy is asleep, Chuck dares to leave his house wearing his space blanket and calls an unknown party, which later turns out to have been Howard.
For Chuck's first meeting in the law firm building for a long time Howard gathers the entire staff to shower Chuck with applause upon his arrival. In the meeting Howard agrees with Jimmy on financial terms for his cooperation and furtherance of the case. However, he also states that HHM is only interested in the case itself and not in Jimmy taking up a temporal job as an attorney at HHM, as Jimmy was expecting to be the case. Shocked and hurt, Jimmy seethes that he would rather burn down the whole thing to the ground before giving it to Hamlin.
When Jimmy's friend Kim Wexler learns about his disapprobation she questions Howard about the reasons for this decision. Howard tells her that this is none of her concern and kindly revises her to keep her questions for herself in a harsh undertone. Just moments after insisting upon Kim leaving his room, he changes his mind and tells her to come back and close the door as what he is going to tell her apparently needs to be maintained as a secret. Through this conversation Kim seems to learn that in fact Chuck begrudges Jimmy his success as a lawyer and that Howard turned down Jimmy's application and his appointment just upon Chuck's instruction to do so ("Pimento").
After learning of Chuck's actions, Jimmy turns the case over to Howard as well as taking care of Chuck. Howard reveals that he only kept Jimmy out on Chuck's orders and actually really likes Jimmy and respects him. In return, Jimmy apologizes for his opinion of Howard. Later, when HHM has to partner with another firm on the case Jimmy brought them, Kim works to get Jimmy a job there and tells him that Howard was pushing for him to get the chance too as its at a place Chuck has no control over. ("Marco")