Freshfields grows Silicon Valley outpost with data privacy partner hire

A nameplate of the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP office is pictured in Frankfurt, Germany December 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
  • Freshfields is the latest law firm to add privacy and security talent
  • Its Silicon Valley office, launched last year, now has nine partners

Aug 9 (Reuters) - London-founded Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is adding data privacy and security lawyer Christine Lyon in Silicon Valley, where the firm set up shop just over a year ago.

Lyon, who leaves Morrison & Foerster, joins as a partner and co-head of Freshfields' global data privacy and security group, the 2,800-lawyer firm said Monday. Freshfields landed in Silicon Valley in July 2020 with seven founding partners, including two existing Freshfields lawyers and five lawyers hired from other firms.

Freshfields is one of several law firms to add locations in Northern California, a tech hub, in the past year and a half. On Monday, London-based Allen & Overy launched two new offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, with eight White & Case technology-focused partners. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Debevoise & Plimpton; Jenner & Block; and Husch Blackwell have also recently opened in the Bay Area.

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Freshfields' Silicon Valley office now has about two dozen lawyers and legal professionals, including nine partners, according to a firm representative. Another recent hire to the is tech and cyber lawyer Brock Dahl, who joined the Silicon Valley and D.C. offices in May from the National Security Agency.

Lyon, a longtime Morrison & Foerster partner, joins Freshfields partners Giles Pratt, based in London, and Norbert Nolte, based in Düsseldorf, as a leader of the data privacy practice. The firm said the hire responds to increasing client demand — a sentiment shared among law firms, which has driven a battle for talent.

Lyon, in a statement, said she looks forward to working with Freshfields colleagues "in helping our clients harness the value of their data while keeping pace with rapidly changing privacy laws both in the U.S. and globally." She advises companies throughout the product and services lifecycle, helps them handle emerging laws and counsels on workplace and employee privacy matters, the firm said.

The move is also the latest back-and-forth between Freshfields and Morrison & Foerster. Freshfields has lost at least three New York-based M&A and private equity partners to the San Francisco-founded firm since April 2020.

"We thank Chris for her many contributions to the firm and wish her the very best in her next endeavor," a Morrison & Foerster representative said.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to include an additional partner moving to Allen & Overy.)

Read More:

Freshfields touts U.S. inroads one year after Silicon Valley launch

Freshfields to open in Silicon Valley, swipes top partners from U.S. firms

U.K.'s Allen & Overy breaks into Bay Area with White & Case team

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com