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Yesterday, Venable announced the opening of its second West Coast office in San Francisco. The new office will serve the needs of the firm’s Northern California client base and other clients’ needs throughout the Bay Area. Jim Nelson will serve as Partner-in-Charge and is joined by partner Art Cirulnick and of counsel Michelle Gross. Well-known Bay Area commercial litigator Tom Wallerstein, whose practice focuses on high-stakes commercial, employment and intellectual property litigation, also joined the newly opened Bay Area office as a partner with associates Kimberly Culp and Cameron Cole.

Speaking with The Recorder in an October 8, 2013 interview, Nelson said, “A physical presence in San Francisco will support practice areas that currently serve clients in the Bay Area.” He added, “At the end of the day, this is a relationship business, and personal contact helps on all levels.” Talking about how the new office compares with past expansions into Los Angeles and New York, which involved mergers, Nelson said “we're taking a more organic approach,” and that it is “not unreasonable” for the firm to consider another West Coast office. Nelson also said the office will offer a range of legal services but expects practices to “largely wrap around IP.” With the help of partner Doug Emhoff, the firm's managing director for expansion, Nelson said his team is actively recruiting.

In an interview with Law360 on October 9, Nelson said the San Francisco team plans to leverage Venable’s strength as a Washington, DC powerhouse in regulatory and government affairs matters. “Our effort is to really bring interface because we’ve had existing clients who have been active in the area so we’re in the position to leverage that and build on the firm's strengths,” he said. “We’re in a position to help have a dialog with government and to have clients involved in the conversation in policy making, especially with privacy being a big thing now, to help shape up regulation.”

In the same interview, Emhoff told Law360 that Venable had been eyeing San Francisco for some time following the successful expansion into New York and Los Angeles. “[The plan] was to really go from the middle Atlantic base, which is what the firm had historically, to a national firm as a response to client need and Venable’s view was to be a national firm using very solid offices in major markets in New York and L.A.,” Emhoff said. “San Francisco in the Bay Area was really the next logical step in that plan to really shore up the West Coast to really build on what we started here in L.A. and expand up north.”

News of the new office was also featured in the San Francisco Business Times and PRNewswire on October 9 which was republished in multiple publications nationwide.