Jeffrey Richter, Alan J. Hoffman and Mike Margolis
Jeffrey Richter, Alan J. Hoffman and Mike Margolis ()

Blank Rome will open a San Francisco office and add to its Los Angeles and New York locations with the addition of 21 lawyers from two different West Coast firms, the firm has said.

Five partners along with counsel, associates and additional staff from Los Angeles-based Finestone & Richter and Margolis & Tisman are set to join the firm effective Feb. 1.

Blank Rome first established a California presence with the launch of a Los Angeles office in 2009. Since that time, the firm has gone from five attorneys in the West Coast to what will soon be nearly 50 lawyers in the region.

“We are thrilled to welcome this outstanding group to Blank Rome from two highly respected California-based firms,” Blank Rome Chairman Alan J. Hoffman said in a statement. “They bring an impressive amount of corporate M&A, corporate litigation, labor and employment, banking, real estate and trusts and estates experience to the firm’s practices in these areas, as well as Chinese and Korean language capability, and will be excellent enhancements to our Asia practice.”

According to their websites, Finestone & Richter has 11 lawyers and Margolis & Tisman has 13 attorneys. Margolis & Tisman has offices in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Finestone & Richter has the one location in Los Angeles.

Twelve lawyers are joining Blank Rome from Margolis & Tisman, including three partners. From that group, six are in Los Angeles, three are in San Francisco and three are in New York, Hoffman told The Legal on Tuesday. Nine of the Finestone & Richter attorneys are joining Blank Rome, including two partners.

Hoffman said the firm had been looking to expand on the West Coast to meet client needs and had been eyeing the possibility of opening somewhere in Northern California. He said it was a happy coincidence that Margolis & Tisman had a San Francisco office, which Hoffman said he intends to grow.

The firms were put in touch through recruiters. Talks with Margolis & Tisman began last spring while the talks with Finestone & Richter started even earlier, Hoffman said. He had gone out to the West Coast to meet with the firms and their leadership came to Philadelphia to meet with Blank Rome’s executive team and practice group leaders.

Since opening in Los Angeles in 2009, Blank Rome’s Asia practice has focused on representing U.S.-based clients doing deals in China, particularly as it relates to intellectual property and corporate mergers and acquisitions, Hoffman said. The Margolis & Tisman firm, which brings with it Chinese and Korean language capabilities, has represented Chinese and Korean companies in their business in the United States, Hoffman said. He said the Margolis & Tisman lawyers felt Blank Rome’s Shanghai office would help with that work.

“To best serve the expanding needs of our domestic and foreign clients—particularly the rapidly growing number of Chinese and Korean businesses and entrepreneurs operating in the U.S.—we wanted to combine with a large firm that has a stellar reputation and broad and deep U.S. and Asian practices,” said Mike Margolis of Margolis & Tisman in a statement.

When it comes to growing the three-person San Francisco office in the future, Hoffman said he has learned some things from Blank Rome’s office openings over the years. The firm opened in Los Angeles in 2009 with lateral hires and then opened in Houston two years later with an existing firm. He said it has been easier to grow in Houston after starting with an existing, cohesive unit. Hoffman said he expects growth in San Francisco to be an easier task for the same reason.

A big part of the Houston expansion since the office opened has been on the maritime side of the firm’s practice. In August, Blank Rome acquired eight-lawyer maritime firm Bell, Ryniker & Letourneau in Houston. Hoffman said those lawyers have been in touch with maritime firms in San Francisco about a possible combination.

Margolis and Stephen Tisman are both joining Blank Rome as partners along with partner Jason S. Kim. Counsel Timothy J. Martin, Adam W. Schorr, Linda M. Toutant, Naki Margolis Irvin, Robert M. Lieber, Kimberly L. Owens, Valerie D. Ringel and James F. Parver are joining from Margolis & Tisman along with associate Shirley M. Kong.

From Finestone & Richter, Jeffrey Richter and William Finestone are joining Blank Rome as partners along with seven counsel: Eric F. Edmunds Jr., Mark Kalisch, Nancy B. Lamell, Christopher Tesar, John J. Waller Jr., Susan A. Wolf and Arthur P. Yoon.

Finestone is joining the tax, benefits and private client practice at Blank Rome while Richter is joining the corporate, M&A and securities group. Margolis will be in the corporate litigation group, Tisman will join the labor and employment and corporate litigation groups and Kim will be in the corporate, M&A and securities group.

Gina Passarella can be contacted at 215-557-2494 or at Follow her on Twitter @GPassarellaTLI.