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Jones Day Reavis & Pogue has added its first installment to what promises to be a summer hiring spree. The Cleveland-based firm last week added to its Menlo Park, Calif., partner ranks Robert Ford, an employment litigator who was head of the Northern California offices of Chicago’s Seyfarth Shaw. Seyfarth partner William Dritsas is taking over the management role for Ford. R. Todd Johnson, the managing partner of Jones Day’s Silicon Valley office, said he’s close to bringing on board several more lateral partners in the coming weeks. “It’s a great time to be building,” Johnson said. Johnson hasn’t been shy using the region’s economic downturn as an opportunity for a newcomer like Jones Day to attract longtime technology lawyers. Ford’s arrival brings to 17 the number of lawyers in Jones Day’s Silicon Valley office, which Johnson opened with just one associate in October 2000. Jones Day relocated some partners from other offices, and Johnson has been aggressive about hiring from the San Francisco Bay Area partner market. Johnson’s hires in the past six months include James Brelsford, who had managed Perkins Coie’s Bay Area offices before taking a business development job with the now-defunct At Home Corp., and Daniel Mitz, a former Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner who had gone to work for Sun Microsystems Inc. Since they both came from in-house positions, neither Brelsford nor Mitz promised an immediate book of business, but Johnson said he was undeterred. Instead, he said, he was looking for talent and experience, adding that Ford was a strong candidate as well for his experience as a manager. Johnson hinted he may tap his new hires for their management experience in expanding the firm’s presence in the West. “A Silicon Valley office may not be the end of the story for Jones Day,” Johnson said. The firm already has a Los Angeles office, but Johnson said he is considering offices in San Francisco and Seattle. Jones Day was one of the last of the top 10 law firms to open up in Silicon Valley, drawn here in part by a key client, the venerable venture capital firm of Sequoia Capital. The firm was ranked the nation’s third-largest law firm in 2000 by The American Lawyer magazine, a Recorder and law.com affiliate. But while it’s relatively unknown to most rank-and-file venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, Jones Day may not be such a stretch for local lawyers looking to jump, said Peter Kerman, managing partner of Latham & Watkins’ Silicon Valley office. “What I’d be looking for is a platform that would allow me to do the type of venture-backed startup work I’ve been doing,” said Kerman, “and I can see why a lateral would be attracted to [Jones Day].” For his part, Mitz said the office was like a “well-funded startup” that he could help build. “It was obvious to me that this firm was going to be a success in the Valley because of its success everywhere else,” Mitz said.

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