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Los Angeles-based Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton is opening an office in Washington, D.C., the firm’s first outside its home state of California. The new office, which opened Tuesday, consists of five attorneys and will focus on government contracts, regulatory, antitrust and corporate work. Over the next few years, the firm plans to expand the office into the full gamut of practice areas and increase headcount to between 50 and 100 lawyers. The decision to move into D.C. stems from a partner retreat last spring, said Timothy Taylor, a Sheppard Mullin partner coordinating the D.C. move. At the retreat, “we asked the general counsel of several of our clients what keeps them up at night, and each and every one of them responded the federal government,” said Taylor. “That really sums it up right there; that’s the rationale.” The five attorneys staffing the new office join Sheppard Mullin from Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, a Philadelphia-based firm with a D.C. office. They are partners Robert Magielnicki and Edward Schiff; special counsel Ronald Feuerstein and Roy Goldberg; and associate Thomas Ball Jr. According to Taylor, Sheppard Mullin had considered merging with a larger D.C. firm or acquiring a small or medium-sized firm, but decided that bringing in a small group of laterals was the best way to maintain the firm’s culture. The firm is expected to announce the addition of several more laterals soon. Founded in 1927, Sheppard Mullin has about 340 attorneys and seven offices throughout California.

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