Paul Hastings plans 400 per cent growth for London

Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker is targeting dramatic growth in London in a bid to build the office into the firm’s second largest, outgrowing its Los Angeles base.

Chairman Seth Zachary said London would be the firm’s “primary growth focus” for the next few years as it turned its attention to Europe with the aim of growing London into its second-largest office after New York.

London currently has 37 lawyers, but Zachary said this would likely jump to 50 within three months and at least 100 within two years. But the office would need to grow by more than 400 per cent to 180 lawyers in order to exceed the firm’s founding Los Angeles base.

Paul Hastings has been struggling to break with its West Coast roots for several years following the growing importance of its New York base, which now boasts 240 lawyers.

Zachary said the London expansion would focus on finance, private equity and M&A, employment law, securitisation and international tax.

As part of the firm’s wider European strategy, Zachary said the firm also planned to expand its Milan presence from 19 to between 25 and 30 lawyers.

The firm is also continuing to explore a German launch in either Frankfurt or Munich, although Zachary said Munich was most likely due to its strong corporate and M&A market.