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The office, coming just months after Kirkland and Wilson Sonsini launched in the area, will grow "substantially bigger" with laterals and other Mayer Brown lawyers, said a firm leader.

What You Need to Know
• Mayer Brown is launching in Salt Lake City, joining other big firms that have recently moved in.
• The office will start with several laterals from Stoel Rives and the firm is expecting to add more soon.
• The firm said its strengths in fintech, insurance tech and life sciences align with the region's strengths.

Mayer Brown has joined the pack of big law firms headed to Salt Lake City, announcing Monday it will open its 27th office in the Rocky Mountain town that’s been a boom for tech business and Big Law in particular.

The firm’s Salt Lake City office is launching with four lawyers, including three lawyers from Stoel Rives and a Mayer Brown partner who is relocating. Mayer Brown’s leader said he anticipates the office to grow “substantially bigger” with laterals and relocating firm lawyers.

The move comes within months of Am Law 100 peers Kirkland & Ellis, Foley & Lardner and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati moving into the city.

Mayer Brown pointed to strong alignment between the firm and Salt Lake City’s strengths in life sciences, fintech and insurance tech, calling them “the heartbeat of Utah’s technology community and the backbone of Mayer Brown’s service offering.”

Firm chair Jon Van Gorp noted in a statement that its clients have already expanded in the area and that the firm plans to continue to add to its office in the coming months, both with additional lateral partners from Salt Lake City and with more relocations of legacy Mayer Brown partners.

The lawyers from Stoel Rives include corporate partners Mark Bonham, who was co-chair of its technology and life sciences industry group, and Samuel Gardiner as well as litigation partner D. Matthew Moscon. Meanwhile, Jennifer Carlson is relocating her capital markets practice in Mayer Brown to Salt Lake City. In an interview, Van Gorp said he doesn’t have a specific number of lawyers in mind for the office, but the goal is to have a full-service offering that can help both local and national clients.

“That’s been a good formula for us in all of our offices,” Van Gorp said. “It’s hard for me to give you a number, but I expect it to be substantially bigger than it is right now, and I expect that to happen pretty quickly.” He added that associates there will be on the same career track as associates in its other offices.

Van Gorp also said the Salt Lake City offering will complement the firm’s work in its Northern California office with early-stage and emerging companies, along with the venture capital firms that partner with those types of companies.

Kirkland, Foley and Wilson Sonsini—which all opened in Salt Lake City within the last five months—pointed to a growing population and ascendant business culture, particularly in technology, as well as strong law schools with good talent, an enterprising culture and innovation in neighboring cities.

Others, like Greenberg Traurig, opened there in 2020. Many of the firms opened with lawyers from the region or longtime natives of Salt Lake and Utah.

Utah was the fastest-growing state over the last decade, and Salt Lake City in particular added about 13,000 people during that period, and its metropolitan area has roughly 1.26 million.

In addition to being home to major players like Adobe, eBay, Overstock and Qualtrics, nearby metropolitan areas like Provo-Orem, St. George and Logan, Utah all ranked among the best-performing cities in the U.S. for tech-focused economic vibrancy.

A Stoel Rives representative could not immediately comment on the departures.

“Reprinted with permission from the January 24, 2022 edition of The American Lawyer © 2022 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.”