Allen & Overy's NYC office to grow

ALLEN & Overy is expanding its New York office as part of a drive to increase its global presence of US-qualified lawyers.

The firm doubled its New York office space currently home to three partners, one senior counsel and 16 lawyers a week ago, by taking up extra office space at its premises, and is now actively recruiting staff, including newly qualifieds from US universities.

Managing partner John Rink said the firm's presence would grow 'significantly' in New York, and the number of US lawyers throughout the firm's offices in New York, London, Asia and Europe in the next few years would run 'well into three figures'.

The main thrust of the expansion will be in the areas of project finance, capital markets and the managing of capital for major infrastructure projects.

Currently, the firm has 50 US-qualified lawyers, half of whom are based in Europe, a quarter in New York and a quarter in Asia.

Rink did not rule out the possibility of a merger in the future with a US practice, stating he would 'consider anything of benefit to the firm'. However, he would not comment on whether merger talks are currently taking place.

Allen & Overy boosted its financial service operation last week with the recruitment of three partners from rival firms.

The new recruits are Wilde Sapte's head of leasing, Graham Smith revealed by The Lawyer two weeks ago to be leaving Wilde Sapte who will develop its UK and cross-border leasing practice; Herbert Smith tax specialist Brenda Coleman; and French banking lawyer Luc Rentmeesters, who is joining the Paris office from Mevrier-Rentmeesters-Fayout-Lacost to develop the firm's French banking law practice.