Goodwin Procter lines up Heller London move

The London legal market could gain a new entrant after Boston’s Goodwin Procter emerged as the favourite to scoop the real estate finance team from Heller Ehrman’s London operation.

Goodwin looks set to launch in London, while the majority of the Heller ­London team are struggling to find a new home.

It is understood that Silicon Valley’s Cooley Godward Kronish has rejected the opportunity to launch in London with Heller’s corporate team, which is also in negotiations with Cooley’s West Coast rival Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Most Heller partners have now found homes after the firm dissolved in September, with 27 partners joining Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, 15 joining Cooley on the West Coast, another 15 hooking up with Jones Day and five partners ­joining Goodwin Procter.

Goodwin’s new London office will be launched with former Heller US real
estate finance partners Brian Smith and Bob Asher.

The remaining Heller London team, consisting of a handful of partners and around 10 associates, was poached from WilmerHale 18 months ago to launch in London. The team is led by corporate partners Richard Eaton and Chris Grew and focuses on corporate work for technology companies.

Eaton and Grew were partners at Brobeck Hale and Dorr, which was the European joint venture of Boston’s Hale and Dorr and Brobeck Phleger & Harrison, which also dissolved in 2003, prompting Hale and Dorr’s merger with Wilmer Cutler & Pickering.

Goodwin declined to comment.