Foley & Lardner is opening an office in Salt Lake City and adding an intellectual property litigation team in the process, as part of its ongoing strategy to expand in key markets.
The move, announced Monday, comes weeks after Kirkland & Ellis said it would also open a Salt Lake City office. Large firms with deep pockets stuffed by a burst of pandemic work are looking to establish beachheads in new locations, especially those with a tech bent.
Salt Lake City is positioning itself as a hub for technology startups and venture capital deals, with investors pouring in billions of dollars in young companies. As those businesses grow, they seek a widening range of legal services.
“Salt Lake City is quickly gaining ground as one of the nation’s foremost technology and startup hubs, with a multitude of technology firms doing business in the metropolitan area,” said Jay Rothman, Foley’s chairman and CEO.
Quinn Emanuel, the large litigation firm headquartered in Los Angeles, led big firm interest in the Utah city. It opened a location in 2018, offering patent litigation and other legal services. By 2020, 18 firms listed in the AmLaw 200 ranks had opened offices in Utah, double the number that existed in 2015. Dentons and Lewis Brisbois are among the other firms that have planted flags in the state.
Foley added a four-lawyer intellectual property team last year from Dentons, including the former co-leader of the firm’s IP practice group.
The Milwaukee-based Foley also focuses on health care and life sciences. The firm reported more than $922 million in gross revenues in 2020, ranking it among the 50 largest firms in the country.
Foley is open to expanding to further add to its core legal expertise in corporate, health and life sciences and intellectual property, Rothman said.
“We want to serve a client that might come in, and it might not be clear what the legal problem is,” he told Bloomberg Law. “We have a holistic approach and will be prepared to help them no matter the sector or market.”
Foley announced in 2018 that it was combining with Gardere Wynne Swell to give it a presence in Austin, Texas, as well as Dallas, Houston, Denver and Mexico City. The firm currently has some 1,100 attorneys across 25 offices worldwide.
Its new Salt Lake City lawyers—partners David Wright and Jared Braithwaite, senior counsel Michael Manookin and special counsel Taylor Wright—came from 10-year-old IP litigation boutique Maschoff Brennan, which has offices in California and Utah.