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Jones Day formally announced the opening of its San Francisco office on Thursday after months of slowly assembling a team of lateral partners. The new office, Jones Day’s 13th in the United States and 29th worldwide, will initially focus on litigation, labor and employment and corporate health care work. The office will have a team of 10 attorneys, with plans to grow to between 20 and 25 attorneys in the next six weeks. “Our long-term philosophy has been to position ourselves to provide legal services where our clients are doing business. San Francisco is a logical extension to that vision,” said Jones Day Managing Partner Stephen Brogan in a statement. The 2,000-attorney firm’s entry into San Francisco was not unexpected. In April, Pillsbury Winthrop partner Robert Mittelstaedt resigned from the firm to help Jones Day establish a San Francisco foothold. According to Thursday’s announcement, Pillsbury Winthrop partner Craig Stewart and senior counsel Caroline Mitchell are following Mittelstaedt to Jones Day. The San Francisco office will also be staffed by a number of lateral hires that Jones Day has acquired over the past year, including Robert Ford, the former managing partner of Seyfarth Shaw’s San Francisco office, and fellow Seyfarth partner Sue Stott. Elwood Lui, a longtime partner at Jones Day’s Los Angeles office and one of the firm’s top rainmakers, will head up the new San Francisco office as managing partner. A former California Court of Appeal justice, Lui sits on several of the firm’s senior management committees. “We have an active docket in Northern California,” said Lui. “Our thought was that we can service our clients where they are.” Jones Day already has offices in Los Angeles, Irvine and Menlo Park. With the San Francisco outpost, Jones Day will count some 200 attorneys in California. While the San Francisco market is extremely competitive right now, legal consultant Peter Zeughauser noted that Jones Day’s size and brand will help it. “If you want to be on the West Coast, San Francisco is clearly the most attractive venue today,” Zeughauser said. The move into San Francisco was in the works for about a year, according to Jones Day’s Lui. The city’s current glut of affordable office space and recent consolidation in the legal industry made the timing right for the move. With the addition of Mittelstaedt, who was one of the three attorneys that administered the ChevronTexaco account at Pillsbury Winthrop, Jones Day seems to be positioning itself to pick up a chunk of the oil giant’s lucrative legal work. But Lui said the move into San Francisco was not a ChevronTexaco play. “That’s just one of the potential matters that we can focus on,” Lui said. “We believe that we have existing work which will keep us busy.” Still, Lui noted, “that’s a client that we hope that we will do more for than we have in the past.” Jones Day will also be going head-to-head against San Francisco-based public finance juggernaut Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Louise Rankin, a partner in Jones Day’s health care finance practice who is part of the initial San Francisco team, specializes in bond offerings for health care providers and educational facilities. The Jones Day group is currently in temporary office space on Montgomery Street, and expects to be in a permanent space within six weeks as it finalizes lease negotiations. —–

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