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Client demand draws law firm to Wilmington; expects 10-15 lawyers soon

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By Alex Vuocolo

A law firm with a global footprint is setting up shop in Delaware, citing the state’s role as a leading venue for patent, bankruptcy and complex litigation filings

McDermott Will & Emery, which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, has opened a new office at the Nemours Building in downtown Wilmington. The decision to expand came after the firm surveyed its clients and discovered a high demand for legal services in Delaware.

“We’ve seen our clients’ need for Delaware counsel grow over the past few years, and a Wilmington office allows us to remain their valued partner regardless of jurisdiction,” said Ira Coleman, chairman of McDermott.

In the short term, that means hiring attorneys with a background in Delaware-based litigation.

“We have a number of hires in the pipeline,” said Mike Poulos, partner in charge of strategic growth and development at McDermott. “I think we’d be surprised if we didn’t have 10 to 15 lawyers pretty quickly.”

Most of these positions will be lateral hires from within Delaware, which means local firms can anticipate a few resignation letters in the coming months. The firm is looking for expertise in patent, bankruptcy, Court of Chancery litigation and intellectual property law.

Mcdermott, will emery

Ashley Altschuler

Carolyn Gleason

Ashley Robert Altschuler, formerly of DLA Piper, and Carolyn Gleason of the firm’s Washington D.C. office will serve as managing partners.

“We were pretty methodical about how we came about reaching the judgement to come to Wilmington,” Poulos said. “It’s one of the leading venues in the country for the filing of patent cases. It continues to be one of the leading venues for the filing of bankruptcies, and it continues to be one of the leading venues for the filing of complex litigation matters.”

McDermott, which also expanded to San Francisco last August and now has 1,100 lawyers in 20 locations on three continents, says recent growth comes on the heels of a robust 2018.

“The firm is a on a tremendous trajectory, and we’ve experienced a lot of client growth and demand,” Polous said, “which has allowed us to spend time building out our existing geographies as well as open up in new markets.”

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