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Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker announced plans Monday to open up shop in Palo Alto, becoming the last of the big Los Angeles players to arrive in Silicon Valley. The firm is moving L.A. corporate partner Thomas Wisialowski to chair the new office and has so far recruited Ronald Lemieux, an IP litigator from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey’s Palo Alto office. “We should be opened officially in a couple of weeks at the latest,” said Seth Zachary, chairman of Paul, Hastings. “We’ve been in the Bay Area for eight years, and our San Francisco office has been a great success for the firm.” Zachary said the firm had several other lateral hires in the pipeline and would also probably move a partner and a group of associates from another office. He said the firm has an office large enough for 30 lawyers with options for future expansion. The firm came close to opening an office a year ago with a group led by Cooley Godward’s Jeffrey Randall. But Randall ended up going to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. “We both decided it wasn’t the right opportunity for him,” said Zachary. Randall didn’t return calls seeking comment. Latham & Watkins opened its Silicon Valley office eight years ago, O’Melveny & Myers opened one in 2001, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has been in Palo Alto for 25 years. “It’s obviously an attractive market, but a very competitive market,” says Douglas Smith, a Gibson partner. “But to cover the diversity of the market, you need to have offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.” Lemieux, who was busy informing clients of his departure Monday, didn’t know yet when he would be moving over. Lemieux started with Moser, Pooley & Sullivan more than 20 years ago. That firm merged into Graham & James, which was later acquired by Squire, Sanders. Lemieux said he was attracted by the opportunity afforded by Paul, Hastings’ Asia practice, especially its offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. “Squire has strong Tokyo and Beijing offices, but its presence in Shanghai and Hong Kong is not as strong,” said Lemieux. “If you are going to look to the future, Shanghai is where most of the activity in China is focused.” Paul, Hastings already has California offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles.

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