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Perkins Coie Launches London Office, Eyeing Start-Up Tech Market

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Perkins Coie is launching an office in London with a six-lawyer team looking to bring the Seattle-founded firm’s tech start-up prowess to Europe’s most important legal market.

The office will be led by Ian Bagshaw, the firm said Tuesday. Bagshaw was co-head of White & Case’s global private equity practice before stepping away from Big Law in 2021 to serve as chair of a startup.

Three other lawyers are joining from White & Case, including Jan Andrusko, formerly head of the firm’s Central & Eastern Europe technology, media & telecommunications practice. He will be European head of M&A at Perkins Coie, the firm said.

While plenty of Perkins Coie’s mature technology clients have business in London, the new office is seeking to win work from local and European venture capital, private equity, and startup clients, Bagshaw said in an interview.

“That startup culture that’s been in the US for a long time is very much in Europe,” Bagshaw said. “But the advisory culture that goes with it hasn’t necessarily been replicated, particularly across law firms. That’s why we have this very clear strategy.”

The firm will service European companies and clients through London, eschewing a strategy of building a network of offices across the continent. Perkins Coie will look to leverage its privacy and technology transactions practices, including M&A transactions, in the new office, it said in a statement.

The office is launching with a corporate group, but will look to provide more well-rounded services to that clientele, firm managing partner Bill Malley said in an interview. That may mean expanding into intellectual property and litigation, he said.

“We want to bring the best of Perkins to European tech-focused corporate clients,” Malley said. “We want to leverage the tech-sector depth we have in the US across multiple practice areas. And we believe that depth will give us a competitive advantage in London.”

The London office will be Perkins Coie’s first outside of the US and Asia. The firm was the 43rd largest by revenue in the US last year, pulling in $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by The American Lawyer.

Bagshaw is a veteran of UK firms Clifford Chance and Linklaters. He left White & Case roughly three years ago to work with a startup, Zero Gravity, that seeks to create opportunities for low-income students at prestigious universities.

Perkins Coie’s London office has a similar startup feel, he said, and the chance to build a law business from a clean slate was part of his motivation to join the firm.

“We’re trying to build something from scratch with a clear strategic direction,” he said. “So it feels like we’re starting a business, and we think that will help us convey the message to clients. What they’re doing, we’re in the same position.”

The other lawyers moving to Perkins Coie include partner Jan Stejskal, a private equity and cross-border M&A lawyer joining from White & Case.

Partner Craig Fagan, who previously practiced at White & Case and Pinsent Masons, joins from his position as general counsel at London-based fintech Bud Financial Group.

Barry O’Driscoll, a corporate partner with experience on private equity transactions, IPOs, and other acquisitions, joins Perkins Coie as a partner from his position as general counsel of a translation technology company, Phrase.

Jan Jakoubek joins Perkins Coie as senior counsel from White & Case, where he has been a member of the firm’s M&A corporate practice group.

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