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Cleveland’s Jones Day has staffed its Silicon Valley satellite with homegrown talent so it would look as much like its local competitors as possible. Now the firm is stepping up its camouflage by putting a local in charge. Robert Clarkson, an ex-Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner who joined Jones Day in February 2003, took the reins as partner in charge of Jones Day’s Menlo Park office this month. With Jones Day less than a year, Clarkson said he’s gratified the firm seems to like what he’s been doing. But now that he’s in charge, he said he doesn’t plan on keeping the responsibility to himself. “My philosophy is not to spend a lot of time on the administrative details,” Clarkson said. “I provide the leadership in terms of new business and where we, as an office, ought to be going.” That sounds suspiciously like the old mantra “delegate, delegate, delegate” as a substitute for heavy lifting, but Clarkson said he’ll have plenty to do. He said he’s intent on recruiting and studying how the firm should expand locally. “I’m going to focus a lot on recruiting, both on the partner level and the associate level,” Clarkson said. “I’m going to be looking at what capabilities fit within the overall Jones Day philosophy and plan.” Jones Day’s Menlo Park satellite opened in October 2000 with one transplanted partner and an associate. The partner, R. Todd Johnson, hit the ground running, quickly hiring locally trained lawyers. The office now has 18 lawyers, including seasoned Silicon Valley lawyers like ex-Wilson Sonsini partner Daniel Mitz and James Brelsford, who was part of a small firm that merged with Perkins Coie before he joined Jones Day. Clarkson was recruited by Mitz, who left Wilson Sonsini for a stint at Sun Microsystems Inc. Clarkson had also left the Palo Alto securities powerhouse for a series of in-house roles. But when it came time to mull a return to law firm life, Clarkson wanted to strike out in a new direction instead of returning to his old firm, he said. “Jones Day has a different set of offerings than Wilson Sonsini does,” Clarkson said. “This was an opportunity to be part of a big, well-respected international firm that has offices all over the world. I like that I’m on the phone to London in the morning doing a deal and on the phone to Taipei in the afternoon.”

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