Norton Rose Fulbright raids Sidley to open San Francisco office

Norton Rose Fulbright has opened a San Francisco office with some of a 17-strong team of public finance lawyers hired from Sidley Austin.

A total of seven public finance laterals joined Norton Rose Fulbright’s new San Francisco office yesterday (2 June), eight joined the firm in New York, and two joined in Washington, DC.

Six of the laterals are partners including Jerry McGovern, Eric Tashman and Cliff Gerber in San Francisco, Larry Bauer and Matt Hughey in New York and Peter Canzano in Washington.

Linda Addison, Norton Rose Fulbright’s US managing partner, who is based in Houston and New York, said in a press release that the firm is “delighted” to strengthen its public finance practice with the group of laterals, who have healthcare and financial institutions experience that fits well with the firm’s industry-focused approach.

Larry Barden, chair of Sidley’s management committee, said: “The public finance team is a group of excellent lawyers and great colleagues. We are happy they have joined a firm where their practice can continue to grow.”

“This was a great opportunity to take two public finance practices and merge them into a pre-eminent practice,” said Tashman, one of the San Francisco partners. “We have been able to take our core public finance practice into related areas – municipal restructuring, securitisation, healthcare finance, municipal bankruptcy. We believe that we can continue to do so.”

McGovern, a partner in San Francisco, said Ken Stewart, Norton Rose Fulbright’s global chair who is based in Dallas and Houston, and Robert Dransfield, the firm’s US head of finance who is in Dallas, approached them late last fall about making the move.

He said their group considered the Norton Rose Fulbright proposal seriously because it is clear that combining the public finance practices of the two firms would be “very, very powerful”.

With the 17 laterals, Norton Rose Fulbright has more than 50 public finance lawyers.

McGovern said his group’s clients include Dignity Health, Providence Health & Services and Ascension Health, as well as the state of California and many municipalities and counties in California, plus New York City and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The San Francisco office is Norton Rose Fulbright’s 12th in the United States and 53rd worldwide.

McGovern said he and Tashman have worked together for 39 years and most of the group has worked together for decades.