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US firm Pillsbury Winthrop is relocating the bulk of the lawyers in its Washington DC office into high-tech Northern Virginia.
Historically, the firm has had over 100 lawyers in DC compared with around 10 in Northern Virginia. But now most of those will move over, taking the Northern Virginia practice to around 80 lawyers and DC down to only about 30. Pillsbury was formed at the start of this year from the merger of San Francisco's Pillsbury Madison & Sutro and New York's Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts. One of the drivers for the merger was to build a technology practice on both the East and West Coasts. Both firms had DC offices, but the small office in Northern Virginia was a legacy Pillsbury office. Chair of the firm Mary Cranston said: "We've had a strategic plan for some time to move most of our DC lawyers out to North Virginia so we'll be much more able to serve our clients. We're making a long-term investment based on long-term forecasts, not on cyclical market shifts." The relocated lawyers will be cross-practice, including intellectual property (IP), venture capital, financing, M&A, capital markets, labour law and litigation. DC will now focus on regulatory work, aircraft financing, telecoms and energy. The new managing partner of the office will be William Atkins, an IP litigator who is moving in from DC. The 900-lawyer firm now has 12 US offices and practices in London, Tokyo, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. Its biggest clients include energy giant Chevron; telecoms companies SBC, Vodafone and Cable & Wireless; banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Bank of New York and Deutsche Bank; and pharmaceutical companies Merck and AstraZeneca. Cranston said: "We're aiming to do all the things technology clients need in a team that's coordinated and understands the industry."