Mayer Brown's new Valley office shuns capital markets

Chicago giant Mayer Brown & Platt is opening an office in Silicon Valley in May, but is shunning the capital markets strategy adopted by others moving in.

Instead of targeting flotation work, which has been popular with most non-Californian firms moving in, Mayer Brown plans to increase its general practice for existing corporate clients based in the Valley.

The expansion comes as the firm finalises its take-over of German firm Gaedertz's Frankfurt office, which has already voted in favour of joining Mayer Brown.

In Silicon Valley, the firm will launch by sending in three top partners from other offices. Corporate and securities partner James Walther, moving from the Los Angeles office, will lead the team. He will be joined by corporate and securities partner Martin Collins from New York and litigation partner Donald Falk from Washington DC.

London managing partner for Mayer Brown Ian Coles says: “It's client driven. While we are kind of geographically new to the area we are not new to the market. We do work for companies such as Oracle, Intel and AOL Time Warner.

“We are very much in the industry – we also do a lot of work for venture capital companies. So we thought that, while a lot of people are out there doing initial public offerings and the like, we are interested in representing companies on various other areas of law.”

He says that the office will target areas that are already strong for the firm – such as securities litigation, shareholder class action cases, tax work, government relations, appellate litigation, structured finance, international trade, anti-trust and IT work.

The office will start off with just under 10 lawyers, but aims to double that in around two years.