One of the giants of the Richmond legal scene is pushing into a small state that’s filled with big business cases.
LeClairRyan last week opened its first Delaware office, expanding the firm’s presence into 14 states. The office is in Wilmington and is led by Andrew Cole, a LeClairRyan attorney based in Annapolis, Maryland.
The Wilmington office was a long time coming. LeClairRyan CEO David Freinberg said the firm has been looking to get into Delaware for several years and in the past came close to finalizing a recruiting deal, which ultimately never materialized.
“We have a number of opportunities in that state,” Freinberg said. “Delaware is home to some of the busiest business courts in the U.S. And we’ve had opportunities there over the years which we were either not getting or required us to bring in local counsel. The opening of an office there allows us to realize what we think will be some significant opportunities for us.”
Cole, who is licensed to practice in Delaware, was selected to head the office as the resident attorney.
According to a news release, Cole’s practice focuses largely on business bankruptcy, corporate and commercial litigation, corporate governance and business transactions. Cole will spend a majority of his time in Wilmington while retaining a presence in Annapolis. He joined LeClairRyan in 2014 and previously worked in the Baltimore and Wilmington offices of Franklin & Prokopik.
“We hope he will be very busy,” Freinberg said.
LeClairRyan has plans to expand its presence in Wilmington, and Freinberg added that it will start recruiting in the city now that the office has opened. The firm does not yet have a goal number of attorneys, he said, but once more lawyers are added, LeClairRyan will likely seek out a larger office, moving out of a temporary space in downtown Wilmington.
Freinberg declined to detail LeClairRyan’s plans to open any more offices but said the firm is continuing to seek opportunities.
“We don’t have an imminent announcement forthcoming, but we are in discussions, which, if successful, would increase our geographic presence around the U.S.,” he said.
The Wilmington office is LeClairRyan’s 25th location. It currently employs about 380 attorneys nationwide. According to the firm’s website, 57 of those attorneys work out of either its downtown or Innsbrook offices.