Paul Hastings plans 50-strong Chicago office following launch

Los Angeles-based firm Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker is to open its much-touted Chicago office next week following the hire of two partners from US rival Jones Day.

Chairman Seth Zachary told The Lawyer that the firm would launch in Chicago on Monday (27 November) in response to strong client demand.

The office will be initially staffed by Richard Chesley and Steven Catlett who move across from Jones Day as corporate and litigation partners respectively. Chesley, who was previously co-chairman of Jones Day’s business restructuring and reorganisation team, will head up the office.

Another two or three existing Paul Hastings partners and a further three associates are in negotiations to relocate to the new office in the next couple of weeks.

As first reported in The Lawyer (7 August), the firm has been looking actively to expand in Chicago and Germany for several months, with both openings expected through individual or group hires.

Zachary confirmed that, following the announcement of the Chicago launch, Paul Hastings continues to plan the Munich launch, although this is now not likely until next year as the firm “hasn’t found the right opportunity there yet”.

He said the firm, which is on track to report a 22 to 25 per cent increase in turnover this financial year, aimed to rapidly grow the Chicago office to 50 fee-earners over the next six months, and 100 within two to three years.

Paul Hastings’ Chicago office will occupy two floors at 191 North Wacker Drive previously occupied by Gardner Carton & Douglas, which announced its merger with Drinker Biddle & Reath last week (, 14 November).

Paul Hastings has been expanding aggressively in recent years off the back of strong financial performance, including launching in Milan and Palo Alto last year. This follows the firm’s mergers with Hong Kong and China-based firm Koo & Partners in 2002 and Tokyo-based firm Taiyo Law Office last September.