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CHICAGO � Ropes & Gray opened its Chicago office this week with three partners in the city that it grabbed from Mayer Brown. The firm has hired James T. Lidbury, who will lead the office, Jonathan M. Grandon and Deborah A. Monson as partners, it said in a press release. Their practices focus on financial services, with Lidbury and Grandon offering counsel in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, private equity, corporate and securities, and Monson targeting investment management, including hedge fund matters, the firm said. The opening of the Chicago office allows the historically Boston-based firm to reach into the Midwest and add a seventh office to its mainly domestic network, building on expansion last year internationally into Tokyo. The firm has about 900 lawyers. “We see in Chicago, and the entire Midwest region, a significant opportunity to continue our strategic growth into attractive markets,” R. Bradford Malt, chairman of Ropes & Gray said in the release. “We expect that this office will grow rapidly in the near term.” Ropes & Gray private equity partners David Chapin and John Ayer, who are based in Boston, will spend a significant amount of time at the new office and help develop the practices there, the firm said. Lidbury was formerly an attorney in the corporate finance division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and joined Mayer Brown in 1994, the release said. Monson went to Mayer Brown in 1994 after working as an attorney at Schiff Hardin & Waite in Chicago. Grandon was previously an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York before joining Mayer Brown in 2004.

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