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Several months after it formally created a separate intellectual property group, O’Melveny & Myers has taken the next step in developing its IP practice. O’Melveny’s 70-lawyer IP department will comprise five newly created sub-practices, including IP transactions and outsourcing. Another specialty group will focus on health care and medical technology. The new practice structure is intended to improve the overall group’s internal operations and its ability to serve clients as O’Melveny continues its push into the booming intellectual property sector. “We’ve gotten large enough that we needed to use practice groups to focus some of the concentrated efforts we’re making in IP,” says Darin Snyder, one of the leaders of O’Melveny’s new patent and technology litigation sub -practice. “I think that the primary advantages are in coordinating the delivery of services to clients, in training and in recruiting new lawyers,” says Snyder. “Hopefully there will be some advantages on the marketing side but that’s not what drove the decision.” The change is the latest sign that O’Melveny is placing more emphasis on its growing IP practice. Last June, O’Melveny’s office in Newport Beach, California, picked up five attorneys from disintegrating IP boutique Lyon & Lyon. A few months before that, the firm hired veteran patent prosecutor Mark Miller from Fliesler, Dubb, Meyer & Lovejoy. O’Melveny’s IP attorneys previously were scattered throughout the corporate and litigation groups, without an individual IP home base. “We found that we were having a difficult time with recruiting because we would go on campus or we would meet lateral attorneys and they would act surprised and say ‘Gee, I didn’t know you guys did IP work,’ ” says Brian Berliner, who heads O’Melveny’s newly minted patent and trademark prosecution group. James Gilliland Jr., chairman of San Francisco’s Townsend and Townsend and Crew, a 145 -attorney firm that specializes in IP, says the new groups at O’Melveny mirror the structure already in place at firms like his. “On a macro level it appears that O’Melveny is trying to organize its IP group in the same way that an IP specialty firm already is organized,” says Gilliland. “I think it makes sense as a wise management tool. At the end of the day, though, the issue as a competitor will be, do they have the same depth of capability as a firm like Townsend has.” Attorneys at O’Melveny describe the organizational changes to its IP group as more of a fine -tuning than an overhaul. “As far as what the day -to -day life of an attorney here is, I don’t think it’s going to change,” says Berliner. “I just think it provides us with a tool to manage our resources a little bit better.” Attorney training will be more effective, he adds, since each group can provide training that focuses on its particular practice area, whether it’s IP litigation or patent prosecution.

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