Dorsey sends top US rainmaker to London

Minneapolis-based Dorsey & Whitney has moved to re-establish control over its London office by replacing local managing partner John Byrne with US partner Paul Klaas.

The relocation of Klaas, who leads the firm’s trial group and is a member of its management committee, indicates a desire in Minneapolis to reaffirm the firm’s commitment to London after some US partners questioned the firm’s global strategy, as revealed by The Lawyer (7 February 2005).

Managing partner Pete Hendrixson confirmed: “We’re moving one of our most productive, most influential partners to London. The office is central to our ability to provide the services of a genuinely international firm.”

Byrne, who has spearheaded Dorsey’s growth in London during the past seven years, is thought to have grown increasingly disenchanted as managing partner. He has a number of business and other interests outside the legal profession that he is keen to pursue, but will continue to advise Dorsey as a consultant. Byrne was unavailable for comment.

The appointment of Klaas will not please any of the London partners who had management ambitions, but will be a tonic for Dorsey’s outstanding tax litigation team. Leading tax partner Simon Whitehead works closely with Klaas, who is also co-chair of the firm’s international arbitration and litigation practice.