Chicago's Winston & Strawn has acquired a San Francisco office and boosted its restructuring coverage after merging with Murphy Sheneman Julian & Rogers

The merger, effective from 1 February, will see Murphy Sheneman's 43 lawyers combine with Winston's 800-strong practice.

More pertinently, the deal will significantly increase Winston's West Coast presence, which until now has consisted of a Los Angeles office.

A spokeswoman at Winston said: “This gives us 30 attorneys in San Francisco and we've always been very keen on expansion in this area.”

Until now, the firm has had scant coverage in bankruptcy and restructuring, but is hoping Murphy Sheneman, Northern California's largest specialist firm in this field, will ramp up its coverage.

Through Winston's East Coast coverage, Murphy Sheneman will gain access to the New York market, where bankruptcy and restructuring work is on the increase.

The merger arrives as Winston continues to investigate breaking into the London market. It was widely expected that the firm would set up an operation in December (The Lawyer, 10 October). A spokeswoman at the firm said that the firm is “still investigating” the market.

It remains unclear whether Winston, which has two offices in Europe – one in Paris and one in Geneva – would attempt organic growth or seek a merger.