Lee & Hayes has added 17 lawyers in the last year, bringing the attorney headcount at the Spokane, Wash.-based law firm to 60, including 19 partners.
The traditionally IP-focused shop is expanding beyond its patent prosecution work to keep more clients from turning to other firms to handle corporate matters. With IP still at its core, it plans to open a Washington office with three attorneys this month. Additional offices are in Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Seattle.
The National Law Journal spoke with co-founder Lewis Lee, who started the firm in 1994, about Lee & Hayes’ recent and future growth. What follows has been edited for brevity and clarity.
NLJ: You’ve added 17 lawyers in the past year. In what practice areas?
Lewis Lee: It’s pretty evenly mixed between IP, litigation and corporate.
NLJ: Where have those attorneys come from?
Lee: Harter Secrest & Emery; K&L Gates; Finnegan Henderson; Woodcock Washburn; and Witherspoon Kelley.
NLJ: What do you think makes your firm attractive to those attorneys?
Lee: We’ve got a different way of doing business. We’re a limited liability company. We’re merit-based but within a fair and equitable framework. Our rates are under our competitors’ and our cost structure is lower, with our back office in Spokane.
NLJ: You said that the firm when founded was based on one main client. Who was that?
Lee: Microsoft Corp. It’s still a client.
NLJ: You recently opened an office in Rochester, N.Y. Why Rochester?
Lee: Most of our expansion starts with the people. I look for IP talent who understand the business. Dominic Ciminello [Finnegan Henderson] and Michael Didas [at Harter Secrest] were two talented guys who approached us. We were more than willing to put them on our platform.
NLJ: Besides patent litigation, what other lines of business are you looking to expand?
Lee: We’re really trying to bring a full suite of integrated services. We’ve got a solutions group that provides market intelligence around IP products. We got an analytics team that can provide business information and technical background for clients.
NLJ: Who are some of your clients?
Lee: Amazon.com Inc., T-Mobile USA Inc. and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd.
NLJ: What was your revenue in 2012 compared with 2011, and what do you expect for 2013?
Lee: We’re a private company, so we don’t disclose revenue. But we were up 20 percent in 2012 over 2011, and I expect that could accelerate to 30 percent in 2013.
Contact Leigh Jones at email@example.com.