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The movement of as many as 100 Pennie & Edmonds lawyers to the New York office of Jones Day is under way, as the 120-year-old intellectual property boutique prepares to shut down by Dec. 31. More than 25 Pennie & Edmonds partners have accepted offers to join Jones Day, and offers have been extended to about 75 associates, according to Dennis LaBarre, partner in charge of Jones Day’s New York office. If all of the Pennie & Edmonds associates accept the offers, Jones Day will have well over 300 lawyers in its New York office, making it the firm’s largest. Currently, 2,100-lawyer Jones Day’s largest offices are in Cleveland — where the firm was founded — and in Washington, D.C. The group receiving offers from Jones Day constitutes the bulk of the lawyers at Pennie & Edmonds’ New York headquarters, which at the end of September accounted for 133 of the firm’s 190 lawyers. A small number of Jones Day offers have been extended to lawyers in the firm’s Palo Alto, Calif., and D.C. offices, says LaBarre. John Normile, managing partner at Pennie & Edmonds, hails the arrangement as a boon to his firm’s lawyers. “We’re creating the best intellectual property group in the world,” he says. “We’ll obviously be the biggest and the best.” Neither Normile nor LaBarre will name any of the partners joining Jones Day, but sources familiar with the matter say that, aside from Normile, the partners include litigation chair Brian Poissant and biotechnology and pharmaceutical group chair Laura Coruzzi. Normile says there is no firm deadline for associates pondering offers to join Jones Day. Though sources at Pennie & Edmonds had earlier expressed fear that Jones Day might offer some lawyers only limited terms of employment, LaBarre says all offers to join Jones Day from Pennie & Edmonds were normal offers of full-time employment. Normile will not say which or how many lawyers had either declined offers to join Jones Day or had failed to receive such offers. In a memo Pennie & Edmonds’ management circulated earlier this month, associates and support staff were informed that if they failed to receive offers from Jones Day, they would be terminated on Dec. 31. Meanwhile, other firms have also scooped up some Pennie & Edmonds partners. Pennie partners James Dabney and Stephen Rabinowitz will move to Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson as litigation partners. Litigation partner Kelly Talcott has agreed to join the New York office of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, and nanotechnology group chair Brian Siff is joining the New York office of Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky. At the beginning of the month, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius hired seven partners in Pennie & Edmonds’ Palo Alto office and one partner in the District. Morgan, Lewis said last week it was on the verge of hiring one partner in Pennie & Edmonds’ New York office as well. Two weeks ago, New York trademark boutique Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu hired Pennie & Edmonds partners David Weild and Maria Scungio, while Matthew Langer joined the New York office of Boston-based Hale and Dorr. Normile, who had previously denied that his firm was interested in a merger and had argued that stand-alone IP boutiques could thrive in competition against general practice firms, says “it certainly seems to be the trend” that general practice firms will take a larger and larger share of the IP practice. Among the advantages, he says, are the ability to interact with a wide variety of corporate, tax, and other transactional lawyers. He also notes that Jones Day enjoys a particularly strong reputation with regard to its litigation practices. But he says he also expects other IP boutiques to continue to do well. MALPRACTICE SUIT As Pennie & Edmonds lawyers decide what their next step may be, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos is also weighing the firm’s future. On Dec. 16, Ramos heard oral arguments on Pfizer Inc.’s motion for summary judgment in its malpractice suit against the law firm. Pfizer, once Pennie & Edmonds’ largest client, sued the firm for procuring a patent for the University of Rochester that formed the basis for an infringement suit against the pharmaceutical maker over its blockbuster drug Celebrex. Pfizer’s lawyer, Richard Seltzer of Kaye Scholer, called the patent “a loaded gun [Pennie & Edmonds] handed to the University of Rochester to shoot Pfizer.” But Pennie & Edmonds’ lawyer, Jay Safer of LeBeouf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, said there “never was an awareness there was any conflict,” in part because the scientific and technical language of the patents did not appear to point to an obvious collision of interests. Justice Ramos declined to rule from the bench but made clear he was uncomfortable with granting summary judgment in the case. “I’m not a scientist and neither are you,” he told the lawyers before him. Justice Ramos also said that while Pennie & Edmonds might be guilty of ethical misconduct, he feared that asking the firm to disgorge millions in legal fees might be an extreme punishment. “We don’t want them to be going 60,” he said. “We want them going 90 with the beer can out the window.” Anthony Lin is a reporter at the New York Law Journal, an American Lawyer Media newspaper, where this article first appeared.

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