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February 24, 2012 5:30 PM

More Office Openings: Hogan Lovells Heads to Rio, Katten Launches in Shanghai

Posted by Brian Baxter

Shanghai

Two more Am Law 100 firms expanded their international horizons this week by moving forward with office openings in two of the world's fastest-growing economies.

Hogan Lovells became the latest Am Law 100 firm to set its sights on Brazil with a report that it plans to open a Rio de Janeiro office later this year, while Katten Muchin Rosenman trotted out a former Chicago mayor as it made its first foray into Asia by opening in Shanghai this week.

Richard Daley, who joined Katten as of counsel last June after six terms as mayor of the Windy City, was on the ground in Shanghai to provide a boost for the firm's local launch.

At the time Daley joined Katten, his China ties--the longtime mayor made several trips to the country during his time in public service and announced a "friendship initiative" between Chicago and the world’s most populous country shortly before leaving office--were seen as a key factor in the firm's decision to bring him aboard. (The firm is also home to tax partner Terry Newman, a longtime friend and dining companion of Daley’s.)

Daley, who was profiled in The New Yorker two years ago, took some time in Shanghai to speak to the press about his life after leaving the mayor's office, including some comments about the November death of his wife of 41 years, Maggie, just days after their youngest daughter was married.

Katten corporate partner and Asia-China practice head Feng Xue will relocate from Chicago to head the firm's new Shanghai outpost, according to sibling publication The Asian Lawyer. The firm will hire two counsels and one associate locally to support Xue.

While the Asian market has been a particularly popular venue for U.S. firms venturing abroad, Brazil is another hot legal market in recent years, according to our previous reports.

Hogan Lovells told partners earlier this month that Claudette Christian, a finance partner and cochair of the firm's board in Washington, D.C., will head a new office in Rio de Janeiro that is expected to open later this year, according to U.K. publication Legal Week.

The office's focus will be energy, infrastructure, and projects work for clients traditionally serviced from Hogan Lovells's office in Caracas, Legal Week reports. Besides Christian, who has extensive experience in Brazil, the firm is expected to make further relocations in the coming months.

Hogan Lovells is betting that the booming Brazilian economy will get a further boost when the World Cup heads to the country in 2014, followed by the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro two years later. The firm could also eventually open an office in São Paulo as well.

In November, K&L Gates announced the opening of an office in São Paulo, following a string of Brazilian office launches by several  top U.S. and U.K. firms.

Outside of The Am Law 200, and much closer to home, Minneapolis-based Lindquist & Vennum announced Friday that it was opening an office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota--nicknamed the Best Little City in America--with seven new partners.

Lee Magnuson, a former partner at South Dakota firm Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun, will serve as partner-in-charge of Lindquist & Vennum's third office outside of Minneapolis and Denver. He'll be joined by Lynn Jackson partners Amy Arndt, Daniel Fritz, and Heath Oberloh, as well as Mary Akkerman of Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith, Brian Kirby of Bangs, McCullen, Butler, Foye & Simmons, and Amy Lauck, a former senior legal counsel for Storm Lake, Iowa-based savings bank MetaBank.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and Sioux Falls Business Journal have more on the moves. Two years ago Forbes ranked Sioux Falls as the top small city for businesses in the United States.

Photo: Shanghai, Wikimedia Commons

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