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Left to right: Mark O’Sullivan, West Coast Head Partner; Anne-Marie Bohan, Head of Technology and Innovation; Chris Bollard, Partner, Technology and Innovation; Michael Jackson, Managing Partner; Emma Doherty, Partner, International Business Group; Robert O’Shea, Head of the Corporate and Commercial Department


The Dublin-based law firm Matheson has opened an office in San Francisco and is bringing on technology and privacy partner Chris Bollard from Arthur Cox to co-manage it.

The office is Matheson’s third in the United States.

Matheson West Coast head partner Mark O’Sullivan, who will lead the San Francisco office with Bollard, said that initially they will be the only two attorneys there, but he expects the firm to grow quickly in its new location at Second and Howard Streets. By September, he plans to move one of Matheson’s employment associates to San Francisco from Palo Alto, where the 650-person firm opened an office in 1996.

In addition to San Francisco and Palo Alto, Matheson has offices in New York and London, as well as in Dublin. O’Sullivan is hoping that being able to live in the city will entice some of Matheson’s associates in Dublin to move to California.

“I think it’s a more compelling destination for them to end up than on the peninsula,” he said. “They want to enjoy the experience of San Francisco rather than the quiet suburban life.”

The migration of technology companies from Silicon Valley to San Francisco also influenced the decision to open a new office. Many of the firm’s existing clients in the Bay Area have made that move, O’Sullivan said, and by establishing an outpost in the South of Market neighborhood, Matheson will be better positioned to reach new startups.

“Before Twitter moved to San Francisco, I think it’s fair to say that there wasn’t that much tech activity in San Francisco, whereas I think now, for young, nascent, unicorn tech companies, there seem to be more up there,” he said.

O’Sullivan’s own practice focuses on advising overseas clients on the tax implications of doing business in Ireland, where many American tech companies set up offices to take advantage of low corporate tax rates. He said Matheson’s new office has no immediate plans to expand into practice areas that aren’t tech-adjacent.

“Our main hub is in Dublin, and that’s never going to change,” he said. “[The new office] is really people who are connected to clients on the ground in San Francisco. I think it’ll always have that tech orientation.”

Matheson managing partner Michael Jackson said in a statement that opening in San Francisco would allow the firm to support West Coast clients as well as clients based in Ireland who operate in international markets.

“Matheson is a market leader for Irish legal services—and the opening of our San Francisco office continues our track record of servicing our clients where they are located and providing immediate access to Irish legal advice and support on the most complex legal matters,” he said.

Rebecca Cohen covers the business of law from the West Coast. Contact her at rcohen2@alm.com. On Twitter: @rebeccatcohen

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