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

4 minute read

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, U.S., November 20, 2018. Picture taken November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

  • The firm had no California presence until this year
  • It now has offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and L.A.
  • Move follows Bay Area openings for Freshfields and other U.S. firms

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Aug 9 - London-based Allen & Overy is making a big push into the U.S. technology hub of Northern California, launching new offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco with eight partners from White & Case.

Shamita Etienne-Cummings, Bijal Vakil, David Tennant, Eric Lancaster, Adam Chernichaw, Daren Orzechowski, Alex Touma and Noah Brumfield have joined the Magic Circle firm as partners, with Vakil and Orzechowski serving as the global co-heads of Allen & Overy's global technology practice, the firm announced Monday.

The firm said the partners, who have practices ranging from patent litigation to tech-focused transactions, will work out of their current locations in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, as well as New York and Washington D.C.

"All businesses are technology businesses now," senior partner Wim Dejonghe said in a statement. "Our clients have been asking us when we will have a presence in Silicon Valley and now we are adding an offering that we will grow to serve as the firm’s center of excellence in a range of technology areas."

The Magic Circle firm's expansion into Northern California comes five months after Allen & Overy opened its third U.S. office - and first West Coast location - in Los Angeles with a team of 19 lawyers from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Northern California is littered with out-of-state firms that have opened offices but never grew, or closed shop after years of failing to compete with local talent.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has crushed office rents while bolstering the coffers of local tech companies, drawing in more and more law firms, including fellow Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which opened a Silicon Valley office in July 2020.

Other firms that have opened Bay Area offices since the start of the pandemic include Debevoise & Plimpton; Husch Blackwell; Jenner & Block; and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: After announcing its new offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Allen & Overy said it hired an additional partner from White & Case, Noah Brumfield. The story has been updated to include the expanded group.)

Read More:

Law firms flock to Northern California as rents drop and opportunities grow

Allen & Overy expands to California with 19-lawyer renewables team from Akin Gump

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

David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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