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Morgan Lewis is improving its firm-wide technology practice through senior partner appointments in both Washington DC and London.
The firm is also taking on a business director who, as a non-lawyer, will advise clients on business plans, appropriate sources of funding and other start-up issues.
Partners Kenneth Boehner and Dean Wayne Rutley are joining from fellow US firm Kilpatrick Stockton. They will be based in the London and Washington offices respectively.
Boehner, who has been with Kilpatrick Stockton since 1993, was the London head of the technology practice. He joined Kilpatrick Stockton's London operation after spending three years at its Brussels office. Both join the technology practice as partners and will bring a range of venture capital and technology company clients with them.
Joining alongside them is Fairfax County business development manager David Harvey, who worked closely with Boehner and Rutley during their time at Kilpatrick Stockton. He will be based at Morgan Lewis' Northern Virginia office, due to open in January 2001, as director of technology practice business services. The role is the first of its kind within the firm.
Morgan Lewis chairman Bob Smith hopes to duplicate Harvey's position throughout the firm's offices. He says: "David will be in North Virginia and we'll be looking to him and another individual we are currently talking to to perform that service throughout the firm and eventually into Europe."
The firm's decision to open in North Virginia was primarily part of an attempt to increase the securities regulation and transactional practices. But it was also in response to client demand. Smith says: "We have a strong technology practice, but a number of our venture capital clients have asked us to open an office in North Virginia."
The area is regarded as the East Coast version of Silicon Valley and is home to a number of technology companies and venture capitalists.
Stephen Goodman, national co-chairman of the emerging business practice, says: "The way the community has been growing in North Virginia means that entrepreneurs now want to visit lawyers who are based on their own doorsteps."
He adds that the appointments and the new office are part of a strategy to become a major international one-stop shop for technology companies.
Morgan Lewis has offices across the US, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and Princeton. Besides London, outside the US it has offices in Brussels, Frankfurt and Tokyo.