Dechert expands in US with West Coast office

Transatlantic firm Dechert is ramping up its US presence and opening up its first office on the West Coast.

The firm is setting up a practice in Newport Beach, which is about 30 miles south of Los Angeles in Orange County.

The office will focus on financial services work for some of the firm’s key clients, namely Pacific Life and Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco).

Head of the office and chair of Dechert’s financial services group Sheldon Jones says: “We have a lot of West Coast clients, and we felt we should be there to provide additional support to those clients. We also felt that there were a lot of talented and capable firms out there, but that in reality demand exceeded supply.”

The firm, the product of a merger last year between City firm Titmuss Sainer Dechert and US firm Dechert Price & Rhoads, hopes that the move will help it break into Pacific Rim work.

Jones says: “We aspire to be a global provider of legal services, and we’ve got the UK and Europe, and now the West Coast, which is really a gateway to the Pacific Rim. It’s a lot closer to the Pacific Rim in terms of it being fewer time zones away, so it does make it easier.

“We do some registration work for our clients now in the region, in countries like Taiwan and Australia, but we’re not certain how this office will develop. We’ll see what we can do, and at some time in the future Dechert may well open a Pacific Rim office.”

Other firms with offices in Newport Beach include Los Angeles giant O’Melveny & Myers, as it benefits from easy access to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Most firms are in the region as a result of its expanding new technology businesses.

Jones says: “This is not a Newport Beach office – it’s a West Cost office.”

The office currently has five lawyers, with Jones the only partner. Other partners working closely with the group include Washington DC-based financial services lawyers Robert Helm and Jeffrey Puretz.

The firm will now transfer in more lawyers and is also considering lateral recruits, with the aim of doubling in size by the end of this year.