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Two weeks after Chicago-based Altheimer & Gray abruptly announced plans to close shop, the firm’s San Francisco attorneys appear poised to regroup under the Seyfarth Shaw flag. On Monday, international tax partner Graham Taylor and a pair of associates officially began working at Seyfarth’s downtown San Francisco office. Announcements regarding whether the remaining eight attorneys will join Seyfarth are expected today. The move provides Seyfarth’s San Francisco office with the corporate practice it has been looking for while potentially preserving Altheimer’s recently launched San Francisco group. “I think this is the beginning of what I expect to be a sizable corporate practice here in San Francisco and ultimately in California,” said William Dritsas, the managing partner of Seyfarth Shaw’s 50 -attorney San Francisco office. “Graham has got the entrepreneurial spirit and drive to grow it; we’ve got the interest and the support for him to do it.” Dritsas would not say whether the firm had extended offers to the other Altheimer attorneys, but noted that Seyfarth had interviewed them and was “very favorably impressed with them as an entire group.” Earlier this month, 300-attorney Altheimer & Gray announced plans to dissolve as a result of a slowdown in corporate work and a drop in collections. The announcement came only 10 months after the firm had launched a San Francisco office. According to Taylor, the San Francisco group was approached by more than 20 firms once news of Altheimer’s demise spread. Seyfarth “has a commitment to growing its California practice, particularly in the commercial transactions arena, and therefore it was an excellent match for my skill set,” said Taylor. Seyfarth’s San Francisco office, which consists of litigators and labor and employment lawyers, has been in the market for a transactional group for some time. When Dritsas became the San Francisco managing partner in June 2002, he stepped up efforts to build a corporate practice. The addition of Taylor is a significant step in that direction. Taylor joined Altheimer from LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae in November 2002. With a book of business estimated to be worth more than $3 million, Taylor represents boutique investment banks, foreign companies and high net-worth individuals in cross-border transactions. “He was the key to that office,” said one San Francisco partner who wished to remain anonymous. “Other people in that office had a good practice; he had an extraordinarily good practice.”

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