Minter Ellison Closes San Francisco Law Office –

LAWFUEL – The Law Firm Newswire – Minter Ellison has decided to close down its US operations and will bring back San Francisco-based partner Richard Horton (pictured) to Australia, where he will join the Sydney office.

Horton, who specialises in intellectual property and IT, spent eight years in the US acting predominantly for clients in the Silicon Valley who were looking to do business in Asia.

Minter Ellison was the only Australian law firm with a US office. It initially had a presence in New York, but after the terrorist attacks in September 2001 the firm decided to move to San Francisco.

Guy Templeton, chief executive of Minter Ellison, said in an interview with ALB that the decision to close down the office was taken because the firm no longer felt the need to have a presence on the ground. “We see a strong need for Richard’s skills back in Australia and he can leverage his [US] contacts very successfully from Australia.”

The firm said it will maintain relationships with US clients through regular partner fly-in support from other offices.

Templeton denied the closing down of the office is a cost-saving measure, saying the decision should be seen in the light of the firm’s push in Asia. “We really have an increasing focus on greater China, where we wish to direct the majority of our international activities.”

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