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San Francisco firm Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) is moving a partner in from the US to head the London office and to spearhead an aggressive expansion.
Kristian Wiggert is a corporate finance lawyer with a special emphasis on securities law and mergers and acquisitions. He replaces former office managing partner Gary Rincke, who left in July to become head of legal at the Pearson Group.
Rincke's departure left the office with no partners and just two of counsel, but it has since taken on Weil Gotshal & Manges telecoms lawyer David Naylor as a partner (The Lawyer, 17 July).
The firm now has ambitious plans to build an English and US law practice, with integrated IP/IT and corporate practices to service technology clients, both companies and the investors.
Wiggert says: "The idea is to build a technology practice in London that can serve existing global clients as well as UK companies and their domestic and international needs.
"It's not intended to become some sort of full service firm doing real estate and the like - it's really to focus on technology clients, because that's the area where we have expertise."
Despite the slowdown in the technology sector, Naylor says it is nevertheless a good time for the firm to make a big play into London.
"The technology market has become more sensible, so now is a very good time to get into the market," he says.
The firm's international clients include Netscape, Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation and NBC.