US firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has made English lawyer Paul Griffin the first partner-in-charge of its London office. The appointment of Griffin, 42, comes less than six months after he joined the firm from Ashurst Morris Crisp to head its UK energy and project finance practice. Cadwaladers opened its all-English lawyer London office in late 1997, and has not had anyone heading its operations until now. "At the early stages the office was building, and there wasn't a need for an individual in that role, but with six partners and 20 others, we are getting to a much more mature stage," says Griffin. "This appointment is a recognition of that, and of the importance of having someone in charge of administration," he adds. He says the firm will continue to grow based on its four practice groups - capital markets, project finance, financial restructuring, and tax and structured finance. The London office is taking on its first US lawyers, with capital markets partner Jim Croke arriving in May. Senior assistant Alan Lawrence also arrives from the US to set up a real estate finance practice. Griffin is the latest in a line of English-qualified lawyers to head a US firm's London office. William Charnley joined McDermott Will & Emery as managing partner from Simmons & Simmons last October, and Ian Coles took charge at Mayer Brown & Platt in January. Ian Johnson is joint partner-in-charge at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.