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International round-up: Ashurst pursues American dream with Texas opening as Eversheds expands in Bulgaria

In a week of globetrotting action for firms, Ashurst has solidified its American ambitions by opening a new office in Texas.

In May, Legal Business reported that Ashurst was seeking to add depth in the US as a ‘strategic priority’, with chief executive Paul Jenkins stating the firm needed ‘to do more in the US over time.’ Jenkins said that it was in the firm’s core sectors, which included infrastructure, financial institutions-related work, the digital economy, real estate, energy transition and funds, that Ashurst could be doing more stateside.

This week’s opening falls neatly into Ashurst’s aim of building out its sector expertise in the country as the firm branded it a projects and infrastructure play. Anna Hermelin, co-head of Ashurst’s Americas projects practice commented: ‘With plans for major investment in infrastructure development over the next five years, establishing a small branch office in Austin allows us to further capitalise on the significant market opportunities and provides a collaborative workspace for our US lawyers to continue to meet client demand.’

To lead the new hub, newly-arrived infrastructure partner Wes Strickland will be splitting his practice between Los Angeles and Austin. Strickland, who will be managing partner in Austin, joined Ashurst last October from Holland & Knight. Ashurst confirmed that as of launch, Strickland will be supported by one other lawyer.

In Europe, Eversheds Sutherland has formalised a long-standing relationship with Bulgarian relationship firm Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners to officially launch in the region. The tie-up hands Eversheds a four-partner office in Sofia led by M&A partner Irina Tsvetkova and capital markets partner Nikolay Bebov.

The other partners are Damyan Leshev, a specialist in capital markets and banking, and Victoria Tzonkova, who advises clients on transactions, dispute resolution, insolvency, and employment law matters. Joining the four partners are 15 other lawyers, who bring both a national and international client base.

Ian Gray, Eversheds’ European chair, told Legal Business that the move offered the firm’s clients ‘more geographic coverage under a consistent brand.’ He also hailed the impact of Tsvetkova: ‘She is a very effective leader and bringing a strong female leader into our business is a real plus in our ambition for greater diversity.’

Tsvetkova added: ‘By joining forces with Eversheds Sutherland, and having the weight of a global brand behind us, we will be able to drive further growth of our practice across CEE. This is a very important step for us. Our people, our clients and our communities will all benefit from our more visible presence in the market.’