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Quantity doesn’t always have to be incompatible with quality. It turns out that the law firms that handle the most patent cases are also generally acknowledged to have the best IP litigation practices in the country. IP Law & Business (a sibling publication of Corporate Counsel) recently conducted its third annual survey of the busiest patent firms in the United States. The top three finishers — Chicago’s Kirkland & Ellis, Boston’s Fish & Richardson, and Cleveland’s Jones Day — would make anyone’s shortlist for the best patent trial firms in America. Two notable trends also showed up in the the survey. First, “boutique” firms are holding their own. Among the 20 busiest firms, eight are IP boutiques. And it’s not the case that small firms are forced to settle for big firms’ leftovers — the top boutiques have enviable client rosters of their own. Second, the general practice megafirms with the busiest IP practices are no Johnny-come-latelies to the field. All but one of the Am Law 200 firms at the top of IPL&B’s survey are repeat finishers. (Chicago’s Sidley Austin Brown & Wood appears for the first time). The survey ranks firms based on the number of times they were hired by plaintiffs and defendants for patent cases filed in 2002. It was conducted using data from CourtLink, an online Lexis-Nexis service, with supplemental information from firms. For the complete methodology, please see the May issue of IP Law & Business.

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