“I’m a bit of a technology wonk, which is rare for an employment attorney,” he said. “But now it’s taking off.”

His clients are in the retail, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and technology industries, among others, and include Fortune 500 companies.

New Digs

When Guy Halgren took over as chairman of L.A.-based Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP in 2001, the firm had four offices, all of them in California. Since then, he’s overseen the opening of seven more offices, including in Washington, D.C.; New York; and Shanghai, China. The number of attorneys has grown from about 290 to 535 along the way.

The last such expansion was in 2008 in Silicon Valley, and that office has been so successful – having grown from four to 14 attorneys – that it’s already moving into larger digs. Last week, the Silicon Valley office moved from Menlo Park to a larger space in downtown Palo Alto that can house about 30 attorneys. The firm plans to move to an even bigger space next November to allow it to meet its target size of 50 to 60 attorneys within the next five years.

“We never open an office with the hope that business will come but we listen to our clients and try to open offices where we can best serve them,” Halgren said.

The Palo Alto office’s primary practice groups are intellectual property, corporate and litigation, said Marc Sockol, the office’s managing partner.

“Sheppard Mullin really does understand the California emerging growth and venture capital legal needs and markets,” he said. “So to better service those communities it recognized it needed an office in Silicon Valley.”

The office’s clients include Yahoo Inc., Aviat Networks, Electronic Arts Inc. and Marvell Technology Group Ltd., Sockol said.

Staff reporter Alfred Lee can be reached at alee@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.

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