US firm splashes out in City expansion

US firm Arnold & Porter is paying the highest rent in the City this year for its new premises as it prepares to expand its London office.

The Washington DC-based firm has taken two floors in the Old Broad Street tower and is understood to be paying more than #549 per square metre (#51 per square foot).

Arnold & Porter, which is best known in the US for its Washington DC-based regulatory practice, is moving into the new premises in September ready for the expansion its London operations.

Bob Winter, senior partner at the London office, will not confirm the figure for renting the new office. “We have no comment about the rate, other than that we were satisfied there was an appropriate lease entered into that reflects our needs,” he says.

The office has 14 lawyers, mostly UK-qualified, including five partners.

“We expect to expand our presence in London and wanted the additional space to arrange for that at this point in time,” says Winter. “But we have no specific targets and we want to be market-driven to meet clients' needs.”

The news comes as Fern O'Brian joins the London office as administrative partner, replacing James Dinnage who did the job for two years.

O'Brian, a regulatory and litigation partner, took up her new post last week after 15 years in Washington DC.

As well as practising law, she will be responsible for staffing matters and co-ordinating the London operation with those of the firm's US offices, she says.