Technology slump sees Valley firm look to the future with East Coast link-up
Palo Alto-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich has acquired its first East Coast office following its merger with Washington DC telecoms boutique Blumenfeld & Cohen. The merger gives Gray Cary its seventh office in the US and an opportunity to add regulatory expertise to its practice areas. The Silicon Valley firm has been stymied by the slump in its core technology market. In merging with nine-partner Blumenfeld & Cohen, Gray Cary has created an opportunity to diversify within its traditional sector. Blumenfeld & Cohen has a niche practice advising on policy, antitrust and regulatory issues within the technology sector. Blumenfeld & Cohen name partner Jeffrey Blumenfeld said: "The merger between Gray Cary and Blumenfeld & Cohen brings together the entrepreneurial and technological spirit of Silicon Valley with the public policy understanding and regulatory experience of the Beltway. "As the technology sector - and in particular communications - continues to evolve, companies will increasingly need legal counsel including both of these components." Gray Cary chairman and chief executive officer Terence O'Malley said that, because the technology sector is increasingly subject to government policy, the firm had been monitoring the Washington DC market for some time. It was widely known that Gray Cary was in the market for a merger and had aspirations to establish an East Coast presence. He commented: "Our new colleagues bring extensive experience in the areas of public policy and competition within the communications services and infrastructure industries." The firm has plans to build the Washington DC capacity to around 50 lawyers. Allyn Taylor will be the first Gray Cary partner to move to the new office. Blumenfeld, too, had been tracking the market for a potential partner. He said that clients needed a broader range of services than his small firm could offer. Blumenfeld & Cohen's four partners, two senior counsel and three associates have all joined Gray Cary at their current levels. Gray Cary has also created a new communications and network infrastructure industry group, managed jointly by Blumenfeld in Washington DC and partner Peter Astiz in Palo Alto. O'Malley said: "We're aggressively moving forward, creating other industry-based groups within the firm to distinguish ourselves, our work and our expertise from the competition."