Couderts in mass recruitment drive

COUDERT Brothers will introduce 80 new attorneys to its US practice next month if current merger talks with intellectual property lawyers are successful.

Chair of the firm's executive committee Anthony Williams last week confirmed Couderts was planning to strengthen its IP practice through acquisitions in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

New York, the base for the team, would be the biggest hiring with 50 lawyers, while 20 would start in Washington and 10 in Los Angeles.

“I'm a firm believer in the fact that many of the most valuable assets in America over the next generation are going to be IP lawyers,” said Williams.

“Our IP department is not as well-organised as we would like. We want to bring in people to really focus on it and perhaps organise it better than we have done in the past.”

He said the discussions were among a number of expansion plans under way in the firm, which opened a temporary Denver office on 15 September.

The permanent practice, headed by former LA partner John St Clair, will open next month and Couderts hopes to bring in work from the growing client base in the Rocky Mountain region.

“The Rocky Mountain Range of America is riddled with companies that are doing more and more work internationally,” said Williams.

“When we did an analysis of the clients we already had in Denver we realised that we had the nucleus of a good practice already. This gave us the opportunity of leverage.”

He said St Clair already handled some of the biggest telecommunications and mining contracts in the region, including cases involving Atlas Mining and US West and it was hoped the new office would “act as a Hoover to swallow up other works in the area”.

Williams said Couderts was also in the final stages of long-term discussions with an eight-strong New York securities team which it hoped to win over from its present home at a high-profile firm in the city.

The team, which had been shopping for a new base for some time, was reportedly in talks with other firms before Couderts was bought into the discussions some months ago.

“Having a securities team in New York is very important

for developing business in other parts of the world,” said Williams.

“The securities practice ties in so closely with the investment banking community and the banking community is doing many of the transactions throughout the world.

“It's a capability that we've been remiss in not developing in New York and it's also important to us for the rest of the world. The team we're talking to have talked to a number of other firms and we came in at the end and have now derailed those discussions.”