North Virginia's growing reputation as the East Coast's version of Silicon Valley has sparked more law firm raids.`Cleveland firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey in North Virginia is hiring from three rival practices for its launch.`The firm is sending in three partners from its Washington DC office and has taken partners from the local offices of Miles & Stockbridge, Reed Smith Hazel & Thomas and Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.`Three partners join from Miles & Stockbridge - John Briggs, Deborah Cochran and Jack Wuerker - and three others come from Reed Smith - Kirk Beckhorn, Robert Gregg and Robert Webb. A seventh new partner, John Thomas, comes from Arent Fox.`Squire Sanders partner James Maiwurm will head the office. He is joined by partners John Burlingame and Douglas Povich.`Maiwurm said: "The background is that this area is a very attractive and rapidly growing business community just outside Washington DC. It has a significant communications business-base and a significant technology business-base.`"We've been doing work for clients out here and from other parts of the world who come in to invest, so it seemed like a logical extension of what we were doing. We felt that this was a market that made sense for us to have a bigger presence in."`Last year, Squire Sanders merged with California-based Graham & James as part of an ongoing strategy to focus on high-tech work (The Lawyer, 3 July 2000).`The firm has already done work in Northern Virginia for Kaiser Group on its debt restructuring, PriceInteractive on its acquisition by iBasis, and Imperial Bank on its commercial lending. The firm also has a big presence in Asia and has recently represented an Asian telecoms company on its investment in Northern Virginia.`The plan is to at least double the size of the office to 30 lawyers within the next year.`Maiwurm said: "What we were looking for in this first round of additions was for people who are business lawyers and who are known in the market. They represent real estate businesses, financial institutions and technology businesses, and this will not be the end of the growth of this office."