Fried Frank targets new City office to house doubling in lawyer numbers

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is planning to move from its current London office near Old St to a site adjacent to the Bank of England as its expansion drive in the UK continues.

The move is a statement of intent as the US firm looks to continue the significant growth it has seen in the City since former Kirkland & Ellis London head Graham White joined in October 2014 to spearhead its expansion.

Under White the office has been significantly re-shaped, with sources suggesting there has been an almost complete overhaul of the lawyers in London. In terms of headcount under White Fried Frank’s London office initially reduced down from 35 lawyers in total in 2014 to just 13. It is now back up to 42, including 15 partners.

Sources close to the firm say that a similar rate of partner growth is expected this year.

Fried Frank has hired eight lateral partners since White joined. Last year it set about building up its funds, private equity and finance teams, hiring a funds trio from Kirkland & Ellis, Hogan Lovells finance partner Stuart Brinkworth and King & Wood Mallesons regulatory partner Gregg Beechey.

In January this year Mayer Brown’s joint head of restructuring Ashley Katz quit the firm for Fried Frank to launch a restructuring practice in the City.

The timing of its office move is not yet clear although it is understood to be aiming for June. Fried Frank is thought to have signed a four-and-a-half year renewable lease for 32,000 sq ft over two floors at 41 Lothbury, roughly double the size of its current office at 99 City Road.