Osborne Clarke hires Silicon Valley boss

Osborne Clarke has appointed a new leader to its Silicon Valley outpost as the firm reaffirms its commitment to the Californian technology market.

Head of corporate in the Thames Valley Andrew Gowans will take over as head of the three-lawyer office from 7 April. He is expected to remain in California for at least two to three years.

Gowans replaces outgoing leader Richard Smerdon. It is understood that Smerdon has returned to fee-earning in Thames Valley for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, corporate star Hugh Jones has been appointed new head of corporate in Reading.

The appointments were announced last Wednesday (24 March) at the firm’s quarterly partnership meeting in Bristol.

Osborne Clarke launched its Silicon Valley operation in October 2000 – on the prompting of clients including Yahoo! – as the technology market was on the brink of collapse.

The bust saw the firm’s profits dive by 13.7 per cent, and has resulted in the exit of more than 25 partners since January 2002. One source at the firm said: “We took the strong medicine in one go. We had a year of pain, but we’re recovering now.”

Gowans said: “Things have started to bubble again. We’re committed to Silicon Valley.”