Norton Rose Fulbright opens in Chicago as Midwest expansion continues

Windy City office will be fronted by 11-strong team who join from K&L Gates, DLA Piper and Polsinelli

Norton Rose Fulbright has announced plans to open in Chicago as it continues to grow its US Midwest presence following the expansion of its Minneapolis office earlier this month.

The Chicago launch will be spearheaded by an 11-lawyer team who join from a trio of firms including K&L Gates, DLA Piper and Polsinelli. The group bring with them expertise across technology transactions, intellectual property, projects and employment law and includes five partners: Andrew Cripe, Daniel Farris, Sameer Ghaznavi, Christopher Hines and Joe McClendon. Mary Kathryn Curry also joins as senior counsel.

Jeff Cody, Norton Rose Fulbright’s US managing partner, said: “Opening in Chicago, the country’s third-largest legal market, is a natural progression of our strategic growth plan in the US and beyond. We start with a highly regarded and diverse team of lawyers anchored by Daniel, Christopher, Joe, Sameer, Andy and Mary Kathryn, which gives us a strong foundation as we continue to recruit top-flight talent.”

Employment lawyer Cripe joins after almost a decade at Polsinelli, where he was a shareholder and practice group leader. Curry also joins from Polsinelli, where she spent seven years having previously been a judicial clerk in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. 

Farris, Hines and McClendon join from K&L Gates, where they all spent just over three years. The trio all specialise in technology, privacy and data security and also previously worked at Polsinelli as well as Fox Rothschild in between. Farris was chair of Fox’s technology practice.

Meantime, Ghaznavi joins from DLA Piper, where he spent almost four years as of counsel. Prior to that he was counsel at Chapman and Culter and also worked in-house at AEP Energy.

The remaining new recruits include senior associate Francesca Cardillo, associates Erica Cook, Alex Katsulis, Nidhi Narielwala and Meghan Tierney and paralegals Janet Ross and Alyson Schmidt-Iverson.

Gina Shishima, Norton Rose Fulbright’s chief strategy and operations partner, said: “Chicago is a hot spot for innovation, and we are eager to serve the city’s thriving business community across a host of practices in transformative sectors.”

The Chicago office is the firm’s 12th in the US and 53rd worldwide. Earlier in April, the firm hired an 11-strong team from boutique trial law firm Blackwell Burke to further grow its Minneapolis office.

NRF’s Chicago launch follows US rival Cooley adding nine partners from Winston & Strawn, Latham & Watkins and DLA Piper to open in the city last May in a bid to tap into the Midwest’s burgeoning venture capital scene and growing tech and life sciences industry. 

And in June Washington DC-based firm Crowell & Moring announced it was expanding in the Midwest through a merger with Chicago tech and IP firm Brinks Gilson & Lione, in a deal that also saw it add an office in Indianapolis. 

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