Ian Shrank and William Macan, both asset finance partners, moved at the end of April.
Shrank says: "A&O is continuing on its path to attempt to be a global player. It realises it must grow its US presence to do this."
But he says: "A&O's New York office has been a modest size for some time. Clifford Chance has a far larger office because it has just swallowed Rogers & Wells."
A&O now has 10 partners in its New York office.
But Clifford Chance has 93 in New York after merging with 92-partner Rogers & Wells at the beginning of the year.
A&O hired two partners from Washington DC-based Arnold & Porter earlier this year to help expand its New York office (The Lawyer, 20 March). Robert DeJoy and Jack Heinberg joined the firm's tax department.
And the firm plans to attract more US lawyers to its New York office. Shrank says: "This practice must grow further. It has a long way to go in New York.
"We are much smaller than many US law firms. We are great with work but we have a long way to go to become a major US player."
Shrank says he and Macan are moving to A&O because it has more international offices than Morgan Lewis despite having a relatively small US capacity.
Graham Smith, A&O partner and global practice leader of the asset finance group, says: "US-driven asset finance products are a significant feature of the cross- border market and these appointments now allow us to advise on all US law-based structures as well as the full range of European transactions."