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Going south of the river: Greenberg Traurig Maher set for The Shard as it looks to boost City headcount

Greenberg Traurig Maher is moving its London offices to the EU’s tallest building, The Shard of Glass, as the firm plans to bulk up its main practice areas in a wider pan-European push.

The US outfit will join a handful of firms with locations outside of the City and Canary Wharf by taking up the eighth floor at The Shard, occupying 20,000 sq ft of space as the firm revisits plans to grow in the City.

According to Paul Maher, chairman of Greenberg’s London office, the larger space accounts for an expected 60% headcount increase in London over the next five years. The London practice will move from its current location on Gray’s Inn Road in April 2016 after the lease expires. The firm will join others in the area including Norton Rose Fulbright, Howard Kennedy and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co – though Wragges also has an office in Holborn.

‘Our business plan has always been to expand,’ Maher added. ‘We are in the next phase of our business cycle and are currently looking to build out our core practice areas – real estate, corporate and finance.’

In Legal BusinessGlobal London in March, the firm had 47 fee-earners in its City practice – 27% higher than the headcount the previous year. Of the total, 19 were partners. Now, the firm has 21 partners of which nine or 43% are female including co-managing partners Fiona Adams and Cate Sharp, while its practice heads of both finance and antirust are also women.

While gender diversity is high in its London practice, the firm has not met targeted headcount growth since its City launch in 2009 after it announced plans to have over 100 lawyers in three years. Nevertheless, the office did make a notable revenue gain in 2014 with income rising 12% from £13m to £14.5m. The firm has added six new partners to its London office in the last 12 months including the headline-grabbing hire of Slaughter and May tax partner Graham Iversen in October last year – the first partner from the firm to leave for another practice in the City.

Greenberg Traurig also recently made a significant coup as it launched its first office in Germany with the mass hire of Olswang’s 50-strong lawyer team in Berlin – a move which saw the firm take on 14 partners.