Clydes launches fifth US office with Orange County base

Clyde & Co has hired two partners from US firm Keesal, Young & Logan to establish its fifth US office in Orange County, Southern California.

Marine partners Joe Walsh and Frances Keeler launched the office with two associates in temporary office space in Newport Beach today. Walsh will head the team, which will focus on the marine and energy markets.

Clydes senior partner James Burns said: “The office will initially be purely focused on marine.  As with any new Clydes office, the plan is to evaluate how we can add other key sectors, such as insurance, over time, but there are no solid plans in that respect now.”

The opening mirrors that of the firm’s Atlanta launch a year ago, when the firm picked up insurance partners Bob Fisher and James Chin from US firm Robins Kaplan Miller & Cires for the base (19 June 2013).

Burns said the firm anticpated that the base would generate income of around $3m (£1.8m) in the first year. The team will remain in temporary office space for two to three months, at which point a decision on a permanent base would be made. The firm intends to keep overheads to a minimum by sending any additional work to its office in San Francisco.

Burns said: “As we’ve already got a sizeable operation in San Francisco, they will pick up any additional Orange County requirements.  Right now we don’t anticipate the need to double up, which is useful.”

Clydes first broke into the US market in 2006 with the launch of its offices in New York and Los Angeles and the hire of four partners from US firm Condon & Forsyth (27 June 2006).

It opened its third US venture in New Jersey in 2010, hiring two partners from US firm Connell Foley (8 February 2010) and adding to it in January this year with three-strong team from New York insurance firm Mendes & Mount (9 January 2013).

The firm entered the South African market with a five-lawyer raid on Linkaters’ ally Webber Wentzel’s insurance and legal liability group last month (16 May 2014).

Last week the firm posted a revenue rise of 8.5 per cent from £336.6m to £365.1m for the 2013/14 year-end, attributing 40 per cent of the overall revenues – the equivalent of £146m – to its international offices (5 June 2014).