- Sarah Solum, who joined last year from Davis Polk, appointed U.S. managing partner
- Says firm will continue U.S. growth after opening in Silicon Valley
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(Reuters) – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on Monday announced that it has tapped Sarah Solum, the leader of its growing, year-old Silicon Valley office, to serve as its U.S. regional managing partner.
It’s been quite a year for Solum, who left Davis Polk & Wardwell last summer to help launch Freshfields’ Silicon Valley outpost with a group of partners from Freshfields, Latham & Watkins, Sidley Austin and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
“The fact that the firm has appointed me on the West Coast shows the firm’s strong focus on technology and life sciences,” said Solum, who represents companies in initial public offerings and other capital markets matters.
Freshfields will remain focused on building its presence in Silicon Valley, where it now has about two dozen lawyers and legal professionals, and elsewhere in the United States, Solum said.
The London-founded firm made waves in late 2019 when it poached prolific New York dealmaker Ethan Klingsberg and his team from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. A UK filing showed that Freshfields’ U.S. revenue rose by nearly 11% to approximately $244 million for the fiscal year ending April 2020.
Despite its appetite for U.S. growth, Solum said Freshfields isn’t looking to add another U.S. office to its geographic footprint. The firm has 28 offices worldwide, including New York, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.
Freshfields now has about 250 lawyers spread across its three U.S. offices, a firm spokesperson said. The firm has added about 30 partners to those offices since 2018, he added.
Last week, Freshfields announced it had lured data privacy and security lawyer Christine Lyon away from Morrison & Foerster. Lyon, based out of Silicon Valley, is now the co-head of Freshfields’ global data privacy and security group.
Solum will stay on as the office managing partner in Silicon Valley. She takes over the London-based Freshfields’ top U.S. regional role from New York dealmaker Matthew Herman. Solum, who counseled Etsy Inc and DocuSign Inc through their IPOs, will also keep leading the firm’s U.S. capital markets practice.
“In becoming the regional managing partner, it no way takes away from what I’m doing on the client side,” she said.
Reporting by David Thomas
David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.