(Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)
Peter Fusco, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler and co-chair of the firm’s Brooklyn Entrepreneurship Center, is poised to join Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a leader of its technology companies practice in New York.
Orrick is the latest Am Law 100 firm looking to ramp up its technology industry expertise in the city, which in recent years has grown as a hub for startup companies and the lawyers looking to advise them.
Fusco advises emerging companies and venture capital firms on transactions and funding matters. He’s also worked with New York University’s tech incubators. In 2014, he helped Lowenstein launch its entrepreneurship center, a satellite hub of the firm’s New York office in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, where startups have proliferated in former warehouses.
“I think I’m in a stage of my career where coming over to help build out a group and lead a group makes sense,” Fusco said. “You look at Orrick, and they have a wonderful platform from start to finish. They take companies from early stage to IPOs.”
Orrick’s tech clients in New York include the online glasses retailer Warby Parker, the daily fantasy sports company FanDuel Inc. and the automated investing service Betterment LLC. It also works with venture firms in the city, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Coatue Management LLC, Greycroft Partners LLC, Red Sea Ventures and Warburg Pincus LLC.
A recruiter whom Fusco declined to name brokered his move to Orrick. But Fusco said he also got to know Christopher Austin, head of Orrick’s capital markets practice after joining the firm in 2014 from Goodwin Procter, from having worked with him on several deals over the years.
“Pete will be an outstanding leader for Orrick’s New York tech companies team,” said a statement by Stephen Venuto, a leading tech dealmaker and head of Orrick’s tech companies group. “Pete’s addition, together with our strong portfolio of New York tech company clients and VC relationships, positions Orrick to be one of the top players in New York City.”
Orrick’s corporate group in New York did just see partner Burton Haimes decamp for DLA Piper. Haimes, a former rainmaker at Thelen, where he chaired the now-defunct firm’s European practice and served as vice chair of the business department, joined Orrick in May 2006. (Haimes also has close ties to the governing bodies for U.S. and global soccer.)
Another corporate partner in New York, Brian Margolis, left Orrick in March to become special counsel at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Orrick antitrust partner Richard Goldstein, who joined the firm’s New York office in 2008 from the faltering Heller Ehrman, left that same month to become a senior vice president and deputy general counsel at cloud-based technology company Medidata Solutions Inc.
Despite those departures, Orrick has also been busy recruiting new partners. In April, the firm nabbed a pair of energy regulatory partners from Norton Rose Fulbright, including the New York-based Lisa Tonery. In a March interview, Orrick chairman and CEO Mitchell Zuklie said the firm’s hiring would probably be slower this year than in 2016, when it picked up 42 laterals, driving down profits per partner.
Orrick’s addition of Fusco isn’t the firm’s first significant tech practice investment of 2017. In Silicon Valley, Orrick added tech partner Matteo Daste from Squire Patton Boggs in February, a month after hiring Glynna Christian away from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer to lead its global tech transactions group. The firm also opened in March an office in Santa Monica, California.
Fusco (pictured right) has some personal experience being part of an up-and-coming venture. He’s the co-founder and lead guitarist of the rock band Long Road, which played for 1,000-person crowds a decade ago, opening for grunge-inflected acts like Buckcherry and Candlebox. Alas, band practice clashed with his growing legal practice, he said.
“I don’t think we’ve played together since 2009 or 2010,” Fusco said. “It’s kind of like Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of ’69.’ Somebody got married, somebody had kids, somebody moved away.”
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