Goodwin Procter is set to secure its long-awaited London launch as the Boston leader secures a deal to take a U.K. hospitality and real estate finance duo from Heller Ehrman.
The initial launch, revealed Friday by legalweek.com, will see U.S.-qualified partners Bob Asher and Brian Smith join Goodwin along with two other fee earners. They will take their book of business, which includes relationships with clients such as Starwood and Dorchester Group, to Goodwin.
The opening will give Goodwin its first office outside the U.S.. The firm features in the Am Law top 50 and reported profits per equity partner of $1.54 million during the last financial year. Goodwin, a regular referral partner of SJ Berwin, has been in expansive form over the last five years, achieving 2007 revenues of $611 million.
The London lawyers handed in their notice Thursday and will join Goodwin immediately. They expect to move into temporary office space within the next two weeks.
Asher only joined Heller at the beginning of this year from Sidley Austin's London arm, which he joined in 1998.
Corporate real estate partner Smith had relocated to London to help launch Heller's London arm last year and served as the office's managing partner.
The move is the first significant group departure from Heller's London office since the firm's dissolution last month. Until now the only London partner to sign up to another firm was antitrust partner Douglas Lahnborg, who joined Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.
It is thought that Heller's London venture law group, including partners Richard Eaton, Chris Eaton and Struan Penwarden, are close to agreeing a deal to also join Orrick.
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