Nutter McClennen & Fish private equity group co-chair Adam Ghander has joined DLA Piper in Boston as the global legal giant seeks to expand a presence in the city, where it opened in 2003.

Ghander, now a corporate partner at DLA Piper, joined Nutter in 2010, having previously spent five years as an associate at Goodwin Procter. His most recent lateral move will see him leave the roughly 150-lawyer Nutter for 3,616-lawyer DLA Piper, the world’s fourth-largest firm when measured by head count, according to The American Lawyer’s Global 100 rankings.

“It was really a unique situation for me,” Ghander said. “The platform at DLA Piper is perfect for the nature of my clients.”

Ghander’s practice focuses on three different areas within the private equity space. He works with public companies on large transactions with the domestic and international M&A arena, while also handling private equity and transactional matters for middle-market companies and early-stage investments for emerging companies and investors.

The size and depth of DLA Piper’s operations—earlier this year the firm absorbed a 60-lawyer shop in Los Angeles and acquired another 150-lawyer outfit in Denmark—gave Ghander a dramatically different base from which to service his clients, Ghander said.

“Having that opportunity to serve clients at three pretty different points in the size spectrum was really intriguing for me and that led to the move,” he said.

Adam Ghander

Ghander joined Nutter, which went through a re-branding last year and has offices in Boston and nearby Hyannis, Massachusetts, more than seven years ago after a yearlong, in-house stint at aerospace, energy and defense infrastructure company CIRCOR International Inc. He joined Nutter in May 2010, rising in the firm’s business department to become co-chair of its private equity group, where earlier this year Ghander snagged an award as a leading lawyer in the emerging companies space.

Ghander said his decision to leave Nutter, a relatively small firm long known for its collegial atmosphere for young lawyers, for the global behemoth that is DLA Piper wasn’t nearly as daunting as one would think. 

DLA Piper’s Boston base officially opened in January 2003 when predecessor firm Piper Rudnick absorbed a group of 33 lawyers from Hill & Barlow, one of the city’s oldest law firms that dissolved in December 2002. DLA Piper’s Boston office now boasts a 76-lawyer team, which ironically enough will be the smallest firm office that Ghander has worked in, he joked. 

An international firm like DLA Piper offers additional resources and specialists in a variety of areas that will ultimately benefit his clients on their respective transactions, Ghander said.

“My perception [is] you need to have a flexibility that frankly DLA [Piper] has,” Ghander said. “You need to be able to say that we can work with clients at all ranges and points along the size spectrum, and the complexities of a transaction, because that is what the bread-and-butter work of a corporate firm in Boston has to be able to do.”

It has been a busy year for Big Law in Boston, as several large firms have expanded their operations in the city in an effort to capitalize on its budding life sciences, private equity and technology scenes.

Kirkland & Ellis, a go-to outside firm for Boston-based buyout giant Bain Capital LP, opened a new office in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood earlier this year with an eye on solidifying its private equity ties, picking up partner Jason Serlenga from archrival Ropes & Gray.

Hogan Lovells also opened a Boston office this past summer after absorbing Collora, a 25-lawyer litigation boutique that specializes in the life sciences and technology sectors, as well as investigations and commercial litigation work within the financial services space.

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, now known as Womble Bond Dickinson thanks to the recent completion of a trans-Atlantic merger, set up shop in Boston in September after adding a trio of intellectual property partners from McCarter & English.