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Dewey Ballantine will relocate capital markets and M&A partner Robert Smith into Silicon Valley from Los Angeles to establish the practice - it hopes to reach 10-15 lawyers by the end of the calendar year.
By drafting in another two or three partners through lateral hires and relocations, the firm hopes to service capital markets and M&A work for its investment banking clients.
Chairman Everett Jassy says: "We found ourselves heavily engaged in Silicon Valley without having an office there. The North Californian firms have more work than they can handle from the deal flow in the area, and our investment banking clients are asking us to go there.
"The North Californian firms have been doing this work for several years, so certainly they have a strong toehold, but having the Wall Street connection with the investment banks will help us break in."
Dewey's clients include investment banks Merrill Lynch, UBS Warburg and Credit Suisse First Boston. The firm also has strong connections with venture capitalist firms that are calling for a Silicon Valley presence.
The office has already become involved in its first big deal: in a $6bn (£4bn) joint venture with Dutch broadband provider Chello, Dewey is advising Silicon Valley-based internet service provider Excite@Home. The deal is being led out of London with M&A partner Douglas Getter heading the team.
The new office in Menlo Park marks the firm's ninth outpost. The others are in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw.