Chicago. Credit: Flickr

Eversheds Sutherland has opened an office in Chicago with recruits from White & Case and Kirkland & Ellis.

It is the firm’s first office opening in the United States since the 2017 merger between U.K. firm Eversheds and Atlanta-based Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. The launch puts the combined firm’s office count at 68.

The Chicago office will be led by White & Case real estate partner Marc Benjamin and Kirkland real estate partner Susan Kai, who will both join the firm next month. Completing the leadership lineup is Eversheds New York litigator Robert Owen, who is set to relocate to the new Midwestern base.

“We plan for Chicago to become a significant focal point for us,” Eversheds Sutherland CEO Mark Wasserman said. “Chicago is the third-largest legal market and the third-largest city in the U.S. We have spent a great deal of time over the past two years listening to our clients in the U.S. and around the world, and Chicago is one of the places where they would like us to have a strong presence.”

The firm’s European expansion efforts have been more certain. It opened a three-partner office in Dusseldorf soon after the merger, and in December combined with Czech and Slovak Republic firm Dvorak Hager & Partners. It is also plotting head count growth in Belfast and Dublin.

In February, the firm posted global revenue growth of 10% for the 2017-18 financial year, achieving a top line of $1.175 billion.