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Law Firms' Latest Office Openings Feature Continental Shift
The American Lawyer
Greenberg Traurig is establishing a beachhead in Latin America by opening a Mexico City office geared toward serving clients doing business in the region, the firm announced Thursday.
The new office, Greenberg's 33rd, will tackle a range of work that is expected to include corporate, antitrust and litigation matters as well as telecommunications, real estate, and food and drug regulation.
Luis Rubio Barnetche -- the former managing partner of Mexican firm Rubio Villegas & Asociados whose practice focuses on corporate and M&A work, divestitures and joint ventures -- will serve as managing partner of the new office. For now, Rubio and five associates are assigned to the office. By early next year, Greenberg expects to have 20 lawyers in Mexico City.
Across the Atlantic, Bird & Bird announced Thursday that it has entered into an association with El Amari & Associates, a law firm in Casablanca. El Amari's founding and managing partner, Mohieddine El Amari, has an existing relationship with Bird, having worked with the firm on joint projects in Paris.
In heading to Casablanca, Bird follows the lead of Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Norton Rose, which all announced plans to set up shop in the Moroccan city this summer. Bird's office will focus on energy, aviation, automotive, food and beverage, financial services and information technology matters. The firm aims to strengthen its foothold in North and sub-Saharan Africa as well as the Middle East. Bird opened a Dubai office in May 2011.
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, meanwhile, opened its Perth office last month after adding 80 lawyers from the Perth branch of Aussie firm Minter Ellison. As noted in The Am Law Daily's story at the time Squire Sanders announced the Perth move, the firm's strategic push into the Australian legal market is aimed at grabbing a chunk of the region's energy and natural resources, major projects, and engineering and construction work.
Closer to home, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice is opening an office in Silicon Valley, according to sibling publication The Recorder.
The office, in Cupertino, is the first West Coast location for Winston-Salem, N.C.–based Womble Carlyle. The firm has been advising biotechnology and other high-tech clients on intellectual property and patent issues in Silicon Valley for about eight years, IP group co-leader James Vaughan told The Recorder.
The office will open with 13 new IP-focused attorneys. Those hired so far include partners Michael Gencarella, previously a partner at Martine Penilla & Gencarella, and Michael Ferrazano, a former Beyer Law Group partner. Firm spokesman Bruce Buchanan declined to name the other new hires. He says they are currently wrapping up matters at their existing firms and are expected to join Womble Carlyle later this month.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.