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April 29, 2010 12:38 PM

Wilmer Lands in Dayton

Posted by Brian Baxter

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr will move its back-office functions to the Birthplace of Aviation.

Sibling publication The National Law Journal reports that by September, the Boston-based national firm will have a center for up to 190 staffers in Dayton, Ohio, working in tech and billing support, conflicts checks, data entry, finance, and human resources. Current employees will be given the option of relocating to Dayton. None of the firm's 933 full-time lawyers will be affected by the move.

The region has been hit hard by the decline in the manufacturing industry, but Wilmer chose the area because of its easy flight access to the firm's major offices on the East Coast as well as the area's established workforce in the technology and finance sectors, the NLJ reports. Dayton, home to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, has longstanding links to the aviation industry. (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is just northeast of the city.)

Wilmer currently divides its back-office functions between its offices in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., but co-managing partner William Perlstein believes that consolidating those operations in one place would make the most financial sense for the firm.

"As we addressed the question of trying to consolidate, that freed us up to look outside the metro areas, where space is less expensive and we can get a business campus setting," Perlstein told the NLJ. "It's a combination of cost savings and the efficiency of having everyone in one location."

Perlstein is not yet sure how much Wilmer will save in costs through the move to Dayton, the NLJ reports, and the firm is still looking to secure 35,000 square feet of available office space. Perlstein added that the firm might consider sending some document-review staff attorneys to Dayton down the road. (The LexisNexis Group's U.S. headquarters are in nearby Miamisburg, Ohio.)

The NLJ notes that Wilmer isn't the only firm that has created an off-site business center in recent years. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe established a global operations center in Wheeling, W. Va., in 2001. (Orrick chairman Ralph Baxter, Jr., grew up in Wheeling, and sibling publication The Recorder wrote about the firm's impact on the town two years ago.)

In May 2008, Weil, Gotshal & Manges announced that it would relocate staff members from its finance, operations, and IT departments in New York to 35,000 square feet of new space in downtown Brooklyn.

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