Townsend and Townsend and Crew Chairman James Gilliland Jr. will step down after nine years, according to sources familiar with the firm. He is expected to be succeeded by managing partner Maureen Sheehy, those sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made.

Sheehy will have a lot on her plate. The intellectual property firm has faced a slowdown in litigation and patent prosecution, the San Francisco-based firm’s two main practices. Some partners in the firm are also pushing to explore merger opportunities, sources said.

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