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Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) has ramped up its English law capability by merging with employment boutique Jones & Warner
The move takes effect on 10 June and gives the US firm its first London employment practice. London managing partner Kristian Wiggert said: "Employment is a very important part of doing our transactional work and also in its own right. It's really something that you cannot have a strong practice without." Jones & Warner will be subsumed into MoFo, with David Warner joining as a partner and Ann Bevitt and Simeon Spencer becoming of counsel. The two firms have been working closely for 18 months. Warner came to the firm's attention when he handled MoFo partner David Naylor's move from Weil Gotshal & Manges. Wiggert said: "[Warner] has been our external counsel on employment matters for a while and it made sense to bring his firm in-house." Warner said it was the chance to handle employment matters on an international platform, as well as the MoFo culture, that drew him to the firm. MoFo beat off competition from UK firms, particularly national firms wanting to strengthen their London offices, and US rivals to scoop the deal with Jones & Warner. Warner said: "We were approached by other firms but just to add on to an existing function. I like setting operations up." In 1979 he set up Warner & Co, which became Warner Cranston and then Reed Smith Warner Cranston. He retired from that firm in 1997 and two years later established Jones & Warner. In taking Jones & Warner, MoFo's London office has scored new clients that include Rail Europe, Bahrain International Bank and human resources outsourcing company Exalt. Wiggert said there would be scope for cross-selling to clients. California-based Exalt does not currently use MoFo in the US. Raymond Wheeler, head of MoFo's labour and employment group, said: "David and his group will greatly enhance our ability to meet the needs of domestic clients whose operations have become increasingly global."