Bird & Bird to move into the US with launch of San Francisco base

Bird & Bird is launching in the US next year, with the opening of a base in San Francisco.

International corporate co-head Stefano Silvestri and intellectual property partner Nick Aries will relocate from Milan and London respectively to launch the representative office, which will focus on work for technology clients.

Silvestri has been a partner at the firm since 2008, while Aries was made up last year.

The duo will work with City technology and communications partner Roger Bickerstaff and international HR head Ian Hunter, who will remain based in London but will support the development of the office.

While the new base will not offer US legal advice, Bird & Bird CEO David Kerr said it will help the firm to build up its ‘best friend’ relationships with US firms. In a press release, the firm said the office would be “a platform for partnering with US law firms to provide global coverage for clients”.

Bird & Bird has historically worked with two or three US firms, according to Kerr.

Kerr (pictured) said: “US companies are being hit with major international changes such as the General Data Protection Regulation, the Trade Secrets Directive and the Digital Single Market reforms from Europe, and we are also seeing technology drive their transactional activity more and more. This on-the-ground presence enables us to offer a heightened level of support to clients as they tackle these challenges head on.”

The firm is not planning to grow the office into a full-service offering; however, it does expect to increase headcount in the base. Kerr said: “From talking to people in the market, we think there is a big demand for this. We are ambitious and do see it building out.”

Bird & Bird currently has 28 offices across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, with its last launch coming in Luxembourg in January 2016. Earlier this year, Kerr told Legal Week that the firm was “very keen” to continue building up in new countries, with regions including South America and north Africa identified as targets.