Paul Hastings exits fail to halt London expansion

US firm Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker has vowed to concentrate on growing its London office despite the recent departure of its City-based German group, led by Geza Toth-Feher.

Paul Hastings’ 40-lawyer London team is moving to an office in the Allen & Overy building in Spitalfields, which has enough space to double its headcount.

Chairman Seth Zachary said Paul Hastings was still looking to open an office in Germany to benefit from the M&A boom. The Los Angeles (LA)-headquartered firm has European offices in London, Paris, Milan and Brussels.

Last week the London office suffered a five-lawyer exodus led by of counsel Geza Toth-Feher, who set up his own private equity boutique in Germany.

Private equity is one area that the office is planning to increase as part of an ambitious expansion plan to make London the second-largest office in the network after New York. To surpass LA the office would need 180 lawyers.

London managing partner Mark Eagan said: “Our ideal candidate is someone who already has a practice, but it’s not necessarily about bringing in a big name, it’s about finding someone who has the potential to grow a practice.”

The office is also in line to report another leap in revenue after an astounding 84 per cent rise last year. The office reaped a gross revenue of $21.4m (£10.61m) in 2006, up from $11.6m (£5.75m) the previous year. The firm’s global revenue stood at $813.5m (£403.32m) for 2006.

At the half-year stage the firm predicts a 40 per cent rise for London, taking revenue to $30m (£14.87m). This beats a target of 30 per cent growth set at the beginning of 2007.