Boston at night. Photo: Shutterstock

America’s self-proclaimed “fastest-growing law firm” is kicking off 2019 doing its best to live up to that label.

Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht has opened a new Boston office and made a bicoastal Big Law partner addition: Thomas Warren, who will practice out of the firm’s New York and Los Angeles offices. Warren joins from Baker & Hostetler, where he co-chaired that firm’s national appellate practice.

Tasked with launching Pierce Bainbridge’s Boston office is yet another new hire: Ted Folkman, who was a litigation partner at the Boston-based firm Murphy & King.

Folkman said he had not been looking to move from his firm, which he joined in 2003 following the collapse of elite Boston firm Hill & Barlow. But after receiving a call from Pierce Bainbridge founder John Pierce, a Harvard Law School colleague, asking if he’d be interested in opening a Boston office, he changed his mind.

“That’s an unusual call to get,” Folkman joked. “And I thought about it and I said, ‘Yes, I would be interested.’”

Joining Folkman in Pierce Bainbridge’s new office is former Ropes & Gray and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison associate Conor McDonough, who joined the litigation shop in June as of counsel. McDonough, who has been promoted to partner, will work with Folkman to help build out the new Boston office, which will be located in a temporary space in the city’s Bay Back West neighborhood for now.

“Boston has traditionally been a hard market for national firms to break into, [but] I think that’s changing a little bit,” Folkman said.

“I think that the beauty of a new firm like this is that it doesn’t have a lot of the legacy costs in terms of big fancy offices to pay for … so we’re going to be able to provide a really compelling value proposition given the strength of the lawyers on the team,” he added.

‘Clear Vision’

Pierce was characteristically bold in his predictions for Boston, which has been one of the go-to destinations for Am Law firms over the last year.

John Pierce (courtesy photo)

“We are also going to take over Boston in short order,” said Pierce, who was formerly a partner at K&L Gates and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

First founded as Pierce Sergenian in early 2017 by Pierce and his Quinn Emanuel colleague David Sergenian, who has since left the firm, Pierce Bainbridge has been evolving and expanding rapidly ever since.

Last spring, the Los Angeles-based firm brought on solo practitioner James Bainbridge and several other lawyers to open in New York. It later added six partners in New York, including former Davis Polk & Wardwell’s Patrick Bradford.

Last month, Pierce Bainbridge added Deborah Renner, the head of Baker & Hostetler’s New York class action practice and Warren’s former colleague. It was her move to the litigation shop that led Warren, who spent over 15 years working on appellate and trial matters at the Cleveland-based firm, to consider joining Pierce Bainbridge, he said.

“[Pierce] has a clear vision of what he thinks law firms of the future are going to look like, and he’s executing on that vision now,” said Warren, who will practice part time out of Cleveland, in addition to New York and L.A.

“The practice of law has fundamentally changed in the digital age,” Pierce said. “We are building an army of killers on a highly collaborative platform. In addition, we have a culture obsessed with winning and bringing maximum value to clients.”

Shortly after setting up shop, Pierce Bainbridge unveiled a tie-up with Scottsdale, Arizona-based litigation financier Pravati Capital in what may be the first example of a litigation funder investing in a law firm’s current and future contingency fee cases.

Thanks to that funding arrangement, the firm has been able to take on riskier-than-normal litigation matters and rely on cutting-edge technology to accomplish it, Pierce told The American Lawyer earlier this year.

Pierce said the additions of Folkman, Warren, and others yet to be announced are evidence that the model is resonating with the best talent from the Am Law 200.

“These folks are seeing that we have better cases, get better results, and have more fun than any firm on the planet,” Pierce said.

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