Nixon Peabody’s head count will shoot up to about 825 after it scoops up as many as 100 former Thelen attorneys this month, the firm said.
Late last month, Nixon announced the hiring of 25 attorneys from the Paris office of Taylor Wessing and said the hirings followed a strategic plan to have 25 percent of the firm’s attorneys working abroad by 2013.
That strategic plan, crafted 18 months ago, also calls for the firm to continue its domestic expansion, says Richard Langan Jr., Nixon’s managing partner.
The firm has extended offers to about 50 partners from Thelen, the 400-lawyer San Francisco firm that voted to dissolve last week. At the time, Am Law Daily sibling publication The Recorder reported that Nixon had offered jobs to as many as 60 Thelen attorneys, including Jennifer Kuenster, co-chairwoman of commercial litigation and a member of Thelen’s partnership council.
Kuenster is indeed among the Thelenites coming to Nixon, Langan says. The group also includes: Gregory O’Hara, the managing partner of Thelen’s Silicon Valley office; Robert Blum, part of Thelen’s famed construction group; labor and employment specialists Michael Hallerud and Robert Dolinko; and Ellen Friedman, a New York-based corporate partner.
Discussions between the firms actually started in September, when a Thelen partner who used to work at one of the firms Nixon previously absorbed had lunch with a current Nixon partner. The two discussed the possibility of a large group moving to Nixon. Langan followed up with a call to Thelen Chair Stephen O’Neal, but the talks fell apart over client conflicts carried by some of the target partners.
The talks resumed recently, and an agreement was reached fairly quickly, Langan says. Nixon expects to add about as many ex-Thelen associates as partners, which will bring the total influx to about 100 lawyers, Langan says. Most will work in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley, but some will work in New York and Los Angeles. One will work in Shanghai.
Nixon will lease more office space in Silicon Valley to accommodate the new hires there, but Langan says he’s not worried about the extra expenses and hires amid a collapsing economy.
“The economy presents opportunities as much as it presents challenges,” he says.