Shearman & Sterling top partners go west

Top US firm Shearman & Sterling is expanding its offices in Silicon Valley – sending over three top New York partners.

The joint head of the firm's international M&A practice Peter Lyons is moving to the West Coast, as are capital markets partners Danielle Carbone and Marc Rossell.

At least one other partner together with a team of senior associates will join them in the firm's two offices in San Francisco and Menlo Park.

The 850-lawyer firm has just 35 lawyers practising in California at the moment.

Lyons will take over as manager of the Bay Area offices, taking over from William Hinman who is going to become head of the firm's global technology group.

Lyons' clients include Citicorp, Ford Motor Company and Boston Scientific, while Rossell and Carbone act for others like Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston.

Lyons says: “The idea is to increase the number of people we have on the ground in the Bay Area focusing on Silicon Valley.

“We just concluded that we had been underwhelming the opportunities and this was a really, really important part of our global strategy to be present in the major financial markets.”

The firm's clients in Silicon Valley include Silicon Graphics and It expects a significant increase in mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures in the technology sector.

Lyons says: “I expect New York to continue to grow but in the US this will be where we are going to focus a lot of our attention and growth.

“It's a market we really have to be in, because this and financial services are the most important parts of the US economy.”

The move is a shift away from the firm's growth strategy, which has focused on Europe and Asia. But Lyons says those markets remain important targets.

He says the firm has been turning technology work away and has been forced to make the move in response to client demand.

In the past two years, revenues from the firm's Bay Area offices have grown more than 40 per cent.