Milbank doubles up in China as US office folds

Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy is shutting its Palo Alto operation as it prepares to launch a second office in China.

The 10-lawyer Silicon Valley office is to close after failing to meet its growth expectations. Securities partner Melanie Mansfield is transferring to the Los Angeles office, while IP partner James Pooley is moving to the Palo Alto office of Morrison & Foerster, along with associate Scott Oliver, who joins as a partner.

Milbank chairman Mel Immergut told The Lawyer: “The office has remained smaller than expected, although it has been profitable. It would need significantly more investment to make it larger and we’ve chosen to make that investment elsewhere.”

One of those places is Beijing, where Milbank expects to open in March following the granting of its licence.

“We’ve had a robust China practice in Hong Kong for more than 30 years. The work level really took off last year and we felt we needed to get a second office as soon as possible,” said Immergut.

Hong Kong partner Anthony Root will lead the Beijing team and will be joined by partner Edward Sun, also of Hong Kong. The office will be staffed by four or five associates.