The lunchtime walk for a hamburger at Hodad’s just got a lot longer for a few Foley & Lardner lawyers in San Diego.
Foley, which had an office in the city’s central business district, has decided to move up the San Deigo Freeway and consolidate its space with its outpost in suburban Del Mar.
Richard Kaufman, cochair of Foley’s life sciences industry team and managing partner of its San Diego office, confirmed the closure of the firm’s central San Diego office in a statement Wednesday to The Am Law Daily.
“Following a careful analysis of the market and the use of our offices in downtown San Diego and Del Mar, we made the decision to consolidate into a single location at our current office space at 3579 Valley Centre Drive in Del Mar in early December 2013,” said Kaufman, who joined Foley in 2008 from now-defunct Heller Ehrman. “The office consolidation has streamlined our local operations and brought even greater value to clients, while allowing our attorneys to collaborate in one space and continue to provide the same exceptional services to clients located in San Diego and across the globe.”
Foley follows the lead of other Am Law 100 firms like Baker & McKenzie and Goodwin Procter, which have also closed their offices in San Diego in recent years. Following Foley’s decision to close its main base in the city in December, several partners have moved on to other firms.
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker announced this week its hire of former litigation and dispute resolution partner Michael McCloskey as of counsel in San Diego. Debra Nye, an IP and life sciences partner at Foley, has also left to join cancer therapy startup Conkwest, based in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif., according to records on file with The State Bar of California. And in April, Ballard Spahr, which opened in San Diego back in 2010 by acquiring a local boutique, hired Foley bankruptcy and finance partners Mikel Bistrow and Christopher Celentino.
Despite the departures, Foley notes that it is merely consolidating regional offices and that unlike some of its Am Law 100 rivals, it will still maintain a significant presence in the region through its base in Del Mar, which is currently dealing with wildfires roiling the San Diego suburbs.
“With more than 40 lawyers, patent agents and paraprofessionals, we are deeply committed to the San Diego market and the region’s dynamic life sciences and technology communities,” Kaufman said in his statement. “We still maintain office space in downtown San Diego to accommodate our litigators during ongoing trials.”
Foley put its three floors of space near the top of San Diego’s Emerald Plaza—the fifth-tallest building in the city—up for subplease last summer. An SEC filing at the time of the office tower’s $123 million sale in 2005 shows that the firm once had 34,349 sqaure feet of space in the building. Foley opened its Del Mar office in 2001 by leasing 15,159 square feet of space, according to commercial real estate website CoStar.
The firm, which recently advised on the $550 million sale of the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks and Ecuador’s Produbanco on its $130 million merger with Nicaragua’s Promerica, has remained active on the lateral front this year.
In January, sibling publication the Daily Business Review reported on Foley’s hire of two partners from splintering South Florida firm Infante Zumpano, and the following month Foley announced its hire of former California Sen. Dennis Cardoza from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to cochair its public affairs practice in Washington, D.C.
Foley saw gross revenue dip 1.1 percent in 2013 to $644 million, according to The American Lawyer’s annual Am Law 100 reporting, while profits per partner rose slightly to $960,000.