Cleary continues California expansion with two San Francisco partners

Signage is seen outside of the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • The firm announced its move into Northern California in November
  • Marcela Robledo joins after two years at Baker McKenzie
  • Maureen Linch was a partner at Morrison Foerster for over a decade

(Reuters) – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton said Monday that it has hired two new partners, from Baker McKenzie and Morrison & Foerster, after entering into the California legal market in November.

New York-founded Cleary follows several other large Wall Street firms like Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Debevoise & Plimpton that have opened in the Bay Area recently.

In November 2021, Cleary hired antitrust litigator Heather Nyong’o, partner-in-charge of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s San Francisco office, to help spearhead its move there.

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Marcela Robledo has joined Cleary after two years as a partner at Baker McKenzie, and will be working on IP, transactions and privacy matters, according to the firm.

Cleary said Robledo has experience advising technology companies and video game developers on licensing agreements, strategic partnerships and M&A.

Tax partner Maureen Linch, who spent three years at Cleary as an associate earlier in her career, rejoins after more than 11 years at Morrison & Foerster.

Linch works on tax aspects of M&A and transactional matters and on renewable energy investments, as well as bankruptcies.

Cleary managing partner Michael Gerstenzang said in November that the firm’s expansion is California was driven by its decades-long work for clients in the region.

M&A partner Benet O’Reilly said in a statement Monday that Robledo and Linch bring “on-the-ground knowledge of the California market” to Cleary.

The firm entered the market with antitrust, litigation and M&A partners, and currently has 11 attorneys working in the Bay Area.

A spokesperson from Baker McKenzie said the firm appreciates Robledo’s “brief but meaningful contribution” to its IP practice, and wished her well. A spokesperson for Morrison Foerster wished Linch well.

In the past few years other large law firms that have entered the Bay Area include Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Husch Blackwell and Jenner & Block.

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Chinekwu Osakwe

Thomson Reuters

Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at

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