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Wilson Sonsini Opening in Los Angeles With IP Group From Sidley
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is launching an office in Los Angeles with a team of IP litigators poached from Sidley Austin.
Edward Poplawski will lead the office, which is set to open its doors in early April. Poplawski, who served as global co-chair of Sidley's IP litigation practice, will be joined in downtown Los Angeles by fellow IP litigation partners Paul Tripodi II, Olivia Kim and Sandra Fujiyama. Another IP litigation partner from Sidley, Vera Elson, is moving to Wilson's Palo Alto, Calif., office.
Douglas Clark, Wilson's co-managing partner, said the availability of Poplawski's Los Angeles-based team prompted the firm to carve out a presence in a market that it has long been intrigued by.
"It was a happy confluence of events," Clark said. "The strategic addition of Ed's team also gave us the opportunity to open a location in a city where we do a lot of work already."
Wilson had already been able to make use of its office in San Diego to pursue work in Los Angeles, Clark added. Law firm consultant Peter Zeughauser says the firm's decision to formally open up shop in the city, coupled with Cooley's office opening last summer, highlights a greater awareness among Silicon Valley stalwarts of the vibrancy of "Silicon Beach." Clark said Wilson is interested in building out other practices, including corporate, in L.A., though it has not yet laid out specific plans. The firm is still exploring the possibility of transferring other Wilson lawyers to Los Angeles. Wilson has not yet determined whether it will bring any associates or staff from Sidley to round out the new office, Clark added.
Zeughauser expects Wilson's brand recognition to carry over to Los Angeles, but he thinks the firm was wise to build with partners rooted in the market. Poplawski is a first-chair trial lawyer who has litigated patents for Deutsche Bank, eBay/PayPal, Genentech Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Samsung Electronics Co., among others.
Elson was a partner at Wilson more than a decade ago and has been at Sidley about a year.
Poplawski said he thinks Wilson's base of clients in technology, life sciences, business and venture capital offers a great platform for his team.
"We think that coming to Wilson Sonsini is an absolutely tremendous opportunity for all five of us to practice at a premier law firm which has a rock-solid California client base," Poplawski said.
With its deep roots in the state and the addition of the Sidley team, Wilson is well-positioned to capitalize on the uptick of patent cases moving through Southern California courts, Poplawski added. The hires from Sidley follow the defection of six Wilson patent litigation partners to Latham & Watkins in early 2011. But Clark said Poplawski's team was not intended to fill a void left by the group that moved to Latham.
"Patent litigation is an area where Wilson has historically been strong but where they have wanted to beef up," Zeughauser said.
Partner Carter Phillips, co-chair of Sidley's executive committee, said the firm is well-stocked with IP litigators in Northern and Southern California, though it is sad to see Poplawski's team go. He added that he does not expect the team to take any clients with them, noting that Poplawski had occasionally voiced concerns about conflicts at Sidley. "In a perfect world, I would love it if they were my partners from now until eternity," Phillips said. "But I recognize that the opportunity to open a new office for a good firm is pretty enticing."