Minter Ellison closes US office

Australian law firm Minter Ellison is closing its San Francisco office and bringing US-based partner Richard Horton back to Australia.

Horton, who will now be based in the firm’s Sydney office, had spent eight years in the firm’s only US office, acting for Silicon Valley clients seeking to do business in Asia.

Minter Ellison chief executive Guy Templeton said the move was not part of any cost-cutting measures, but more of a demonstration of its commitment to Asia.

“We have an increasing focus on China,” he said, adding that the firm wants to direct the bulk of its international activities to China.

He also said the firm would be maintaining its relationships with its US clients, with partners from other offices expected to fly into the US regularly.

Horton is to focus on computer and solar technology work in Sydney and will work alongside Minter IP partner Charles Alexander in the firm’s media practice.

Minter Ellison had been the only Australian firm with an on-the-ground US presence.