All but one of the Silicon Valley intellectual property boutique's 26 attorneys joined Howrey's Palo Alto, Calif., office, effective July 1.
The move includes nine partners -- James Batchelder, Linda Sasaki-Baxley, Renee Dubord Brown, Lloyd "Rusty" Day Jr., Robert Galvin, Paul Grewal, Jonathan Loeb, Jackie Nakamura and William Nelson -- plus 16 associates. Partner David Madrid, who is on a year-long sabbatical, won't be joining now, Howrey Managing Partner Robert Ruyak said Wednesday. "We're very interested in him," he said.
The Recorder reported early last week that Howrey was in advanced talks with Day Casebeer, a Cupertino, Calif.-based firm founded in 1998 when Day and four other partners split from what is now Cooley Godward Kronish.
Ruyak said he first proposed the possibility of combining forces three years ago.
"At that time, it wasn't quite right," he said. "Things got serious at the end of last year, beginning of this year."
Lawyers at the two firms have worked together on matters for years, Ruyak said, and have shared clients, including Amgen Inc. and SAP.
Howrey, with more than 725 lawyers, has been growing globally since 2000 and focusing more on patent litigation. On the West Coast, it added about 40 attorneys from the dissolving Thelen last fall.
The combination with Day Casebeer brings Howrey's Silicon Valley office to 58 lawyers. Ruyak said among the new skills Howrey picks up are strong first-chair trial experience, particularly in pharmaceuticals and electronics.
Patent litigation is one area that's still holding up for firms, noted Weil, Gotshal & Manges litigator Edward Reines. "Obviously, Day Casebeer had its ups and downs, but there are talented attorneys there in an area where a lot of firms need talent." Howrey is known as a good place for patent litigation and "a logical destination for Day Casebeer," added Reines, a Silicon Valley partner."From firsthand knowledge, the interest in hiring patent litigation talent by firms in the Valley has not subsided."
Day Casebeer has over the past two years faced scrutiny for a discovery debacle in a patent fight between client Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Corp. Five of its lawyers, as well as one from Heller Ehrman, were sanctioned in early 2008 after Qualcomm failed to turn over crucial documents in discovery. Four of them have since left the firm. The order was later vacated until the lawyers can tell their side of the story.
Day Casebeer has also not been immune to layoffs; last fall it cut seven associates and two staff.
Day, its managing partner, said Howrey and Ruyak's vision were a good fit for his firm, which couldn't add resources quickly on its own. Howrey's stable of lawyers, experienced in areas such as regulatory counseling, products liability and antitrust litigation in far-flung markets, including Europe, is complementary to the needs of Day Casebeer clients, Day said.
Asked what part the Qualcomm experience played, he said Day Casebeer became more receptive after that to "all kinds of combinations with others" to improve its services and generate demand. "Qualcomm reinforced our humility, our recognition that there are a lot of good people out there and that there are a lot of different ways of doing things."
And one observer says Howrey will give them space to grow.
"Howrey is one of the few firms out there that can accommodate this type of team and allow them to be what they want to be without subsuming them to a corporate entity," said Katharine Patterson of San Francisco's Patterson Davis Consulting.