Top Chicago firm to open in London

US firm Altheimer & Gray is to open a London office.

The Lawyer understands that the Chicago-based firm is looking to take a floor with room for around 30 staff in the same building as fellow US firm McDermott Will & Emery. A source suggests there will be about a dozen lawyers in the office.

A partner in a rival Chicago firm expresses surprise that Altheimers is opening in London. “The big question I would have is, can they make it in that extremely competitive market?” he says.

But the firm surprised its rivals when it became the first US firm to expand into Eastern Europe when it opened an office in Warsaw in 1990.

A source at the London office of a Chicago firm says Altheimers may be setting up in London to tie in with its Eastern European business.

“London is the centre for emerging markets business, including Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, so if they want to be close to where the deals are struck, then this is the logical place,” he says.

Louis B Goldman, the partner who oversees the firm's international development, would not comment as The Lawyer went to press.