George Willman, Reed Smith partner..courtesy photo
George Willman, Reed Smith partner..courtesy photo ()

SAN FRANCISCO — Reed Smith has added a tech transactions lawyer in its Silicon Valley office.

George Willman, who had been of counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, joined Reed Smith’s corporate and securities group as a partner on Friday. His practice will focus on licensing and technology transactions and intellectual property.

Prior to launching his legal career at Wilson Sonsini in 1996, Willman was a software and telecommunications engineer for ROLM, IBM and Siemens in Silicon Valley and Munich.

Reed Smith’s Silicon Valley managing partner, Catharina Min, said the firm has been looking to expand the office, but “it’s just a competitive market.” Things clicked with Willman because two of his former colleagues from Wilson Sonsini are now at Reed Smith, she said.

Natasha Innocenti, a recruiter from Major, Lindsey and Africa, said technology transactions lawyers are hot right now. “This is the latest of a string of lateral moves that demonstrate the demand for tech transactions in Silicon Valley,” she said.

Last year, Robert Stefanski, the former general counsel at TIBCO Software, joined Reed Smith’s Palo Alto corporate and securities group; in February, SanDisk’s chief legal officer, James Brelsford, joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s IP group in Palo Alto; then in April, Shaalu Mehra, the former chair of the technology transactions group at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, jumped to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Palo Alto office.

“Seeing this number of lateral moves in a practice area that has traditionally not been known as a highly portable one is another sign of a robust corporate market and competition for talent in Silicon Valley,” Innocenti added.

Willman said he plans to bring his clients, which range from large public companies to start-ups, to Reed Smith.

Contact the reporter at npierrepont@alm.com.