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Lexis+ AI
Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

Norton Rose Fulbright opens Chicago office

Norton Rose Fulbright opens Chicago office


11 lateral hires will join the firm to strengthen its US tech, IP, projects and employment law offering

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has announced it will open its twelfth US office – its fifty-third worldwide – in Chicago. 

The firm will be the first major law firm to base itself in Chicago's Fulton Market District, with a “modern and progressive workspace with a focus on collaboration and innovation”.

The new office will open with an 11-lawyer team focused on technology transactions, intellectual property, projects and employment law.

Partners will include Andrew Cripe, Daniel Farris, Sameer Ghaznavi, Christopher Hines and Joe McClendon. The five partners will be joined by senior counsel Mary Kathryn Curry, senior associate Francesca Cardillo, associates Erica Cook, Alex Katsulis, Nidhi Narielwala and Meghan Tierney.

The new team join Norton Rose Fulbright from a number of other prestigious firms. Focused on technology transactions, intellectual property and privacy and data security, Farris, Hines, McClendon, Cardillo, Cook, Katsulis, Narielwala and Tierney join from K&L Gates. Ghaznavi joins the firm's projects practice from DLA Piper. Employment lawyers, Cripe and Curry, leave Polsinelli. 

The firm’s US managing partner Jeff Cody, said: "Opening in Chicago, the country's third-largest legal market, is a natural progression of our strategic growth plan in the US and beyond. 

“We start with a highly regarded and diverse team of lawyers… which gives us a strong foundation as we continue to recruit top-flight talent. 

“Our Chicago office is part of our Midwest growth and will act as an innovation hub, serving clients focused on the evolution of modern business who will benefit from our sophisticated counsel and unparalleled global platform."

The firm said the addition of a Chicago office will allow Norton Rose Fulbright to “even more effectively” serve Midwest-based clients in a range of industries as well as other national and global clients who are active in the region. 

Norton Rose Fulbright's chief strategy and operations partner, Gina Shishima, said: "Chicago is a hot spot for innovation, and we are eager to serve the city's thriving business community across a host of practices in transformative sectors. 

“The Fulton Market District is a symbol of transformation in Chicago, and making this burgeoning tech environment our home is our way of building a diverse and differentiated presence in the city that we hope is inspiring and refreshing to clients and lateral candidates alike."

The lateral hire of Farris will expand the firm’s existing technology transactions, IP and data security offering. Farris advises both technology and tech-enabled companies on transactional, privacy and compliance and intellectual property issues.

Farris served as a chair of K&L Gates' technology transactions and data protection practice group. He commented: "One of the first things that attracted us to Norton Rose Fulbright was the firm's willingness – and eagerness – to venture out and do something new. 

“Our clients are disruptors by nature and energized by digital and business transformation. They want their lawyers to have that same orientation. It's refreshing to find a firm willing to embrace new technology, new models to improve client experience and even a modern and progressive space in Chicago's most vibrant and growing economic corridor."

Hines counsels high-tech companies on the development of intellectual property assets, focusing on acquisition and management of patent portfolios. He also advises new businesses on early stage IP concerns. 

Hines added: "[T]he firm… has a proven track record of investing in tech-enabled, non-traditional legal services. It's exciting to be a part of the firm's ongoing strategic evolution”.

McClendon, a former IT professional, advises on a variety of technology transactions and privacy and data security issues. He commented: "Our group represents local and national companies whose legal needs are growing around the world, which makes Norton Rose Fulbright with its global client offering a great fit and an attractive destination”.

Ghaznavi represents private and public companies, developers, utilities and sponsors in relation to the development, strategic acquisition and sale of energy and infrastructure projects in North America. The Legal 500 United States named Ghaznavi a “Rising Star in Energy: Renewable/Alternative Power”. He chaired DLA Piper's Diversity and Inclusion Committee in Chicago.

Ghaznavi said: "Norton Rose Fulbright is a global leader in project finance and renewables, setting the standard both in terms of first-of-their-kind transactions and deal volume. I am excited to help the firm expand its projects footprint to Chicago, which is home to some of the country's biggest renewable energy developers."

Cripe advises global employers with business transformation issues, internal investigations and the development of enterprise-wide risk management, compliance programs and audits. He also supports workforce management and advises across a wide range of employment issues.

Cripe led the employment advice and labor practice at Polsinelli. He said: "Norton Rose Fulbright has an unmatched reach with impressive resources in the US and around the world, which will greatly benefit clients whose businesses are undergoing rapid expansion and transformation”.

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