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On February 4, when global research firm Savills released its Tech Cities in Motion survey results, it validated many law firms’ decisions in recent years to aggressively pursue New York’s technology-driven startup and investment sector. Among 30 cities worldwide, Savills announced, “New York has emerged as the premiere Tech City, overtaking San Francisco.” The report hasn’t receive much coverage in the legal trade press, but as recruiters who have gained a wide-ranging knowledge of the local market while facilitating lateral partner moves, we’ve learned that law firms have played important supporting roles in Silicon Alley’s ascension. We’ve identified three key strategies deployed by recognized law firm leaders in the space.

According to Tech:NYC, the city’s so-called “technology ecosystem” now boasts a value of $71 billion. It’s home to some 7,000 startups, backed by close to $40 billion in venture capital. And these days, every law firm in town wants a piece of the action. In one recent high-profile move, last October, New York-founded Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel recruited globally recognized IP and technology commercialization expert Harry Rubin. A former co-chair of Ropes & Gray’s international practice group, Rubin has since launched Kramer Levin’s IP and technology transactions practice.

Big Law’s chase after New York emerging companies work began to gain steam in 2016. That’s when Palo Alto-based Fenwick & West, the firm that incorporated Apple Inc. and handled the IPOs of Oracle and eBay, as well as numerous multibillion dollar deals for Cisco Systems and Symantec, opened a modest seven-lawyer New York office. Last year, having grown to 45 lawyers, Fenwick became the first to host an office in the Flatiron District, Silicon Alley’s birthplace. Founded in 1972 by four New York City expatriates, Fenwick showcases the number one strategy other firms would do well to consider in seeking to expand their emerging companies practices: Link arms with entrepreneurs before their business ideas become the next big thing.

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