Mystery US firm makes $1m offer

A MYSTERY US firm is placing advertisements in the legal press offering a UK lawyer $1m to open a London office with San Francisco firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe emerging as the most likely source.

At £620,000, the salary is the second highest offered in the UK, after the £700,000 offered by Chadbourne & Parke in 1996.

Recruitment consultancy Quarry Dougall, which is handling the firm's recruitment, would not reveal who had placed the advert.

But Orrick Herrington has confirmed it is planning to open a 'significant' London-based finance law practice staffed by UK lawyers.

Michael Meyers, partner in charge of international practice, would 'neither confirm nor deny' placing the advert, but said the firm wanted a London office 'in as quick a time scale as possible'.

Two other US firms also have plans to open up in London. New York practice Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison is headhunting high-earning English lawyers in the City but says it has yet to advertise.

Texas firm Baker & Botts, which set up a temporary office in London last year, is to make the base permanent next month, staffed by seven US lawyers advising a petroleum client.