Piper firm to add EU lawyers

July 08, 2006|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP, the second-biggest U.S. law firm by number of attorneys, plans to double the number of its European lawyers to 1,000 by 2009 to handle corporate, regulatory litigation and patent work.

DLA Piper, based in Baltimore and London, is considering a new office in Munich, Germany, and expansion in Frankfurt, Germany, and Madrid, Spain, Peter Wayte, London-based senior partner for Europe and Asia, said in an interview. The Paris office will likely grow from 20 to 100 lawyers in three years and Scandinavia by 150 if DLA Piper can find the right candidates, he said.

"We think we have a unique selling point that allows us to build offices quite quickly," Wayte said. "We're full service, with separate cultures and it's a" meritocracy.

DLA Piper had revenue from U.S. and international operations of $1.52 billion in 2005. Continental Europe accounted for 20 percent of the international revenue, Asia 5 percent, with the remainder coming from United Kingdom operations.

The firm was created last year in a merger between the U.K.'s DLA and the U.S. firm Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. DLA Piper has about 3,100 lawyers in 59 offices worldwide, according to its Web site.

DLA Piper management hasn't considered funding its European expansion with an initial public offering on the stock exchange or with venture capital, which would be allowed in the U.K. under a law expected to be enacted in 2007.

"We've never discussed it at the board. We have no plans for an IPO or to raise venture capital," Wayte said. "However, we aren't daft. We will look at the pluses and minuses."

DLA Piper opened a Dubai office in May, and Wayte said they're looking to expand in the Middle East where it has an alliance partner in Egypt, DLA Matouk Bassiouny, and an affiliation with Abdulaziz al-Fahad, a lawyer based in Saudi Arabia.

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