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After years of flirting with the idea, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati finally committed to Southern California.

Wilson is launching a permanent practice in San Diego with three lateral hires from Pillsbury Winthrop’s San Diego office, and may add more than a dozen more lawyers in the coming months, said Wilson spokeswoman Courtney Dorman.

“Our move will be beyond biotech,” she added. “It’s a much broader move into San Diego.”

Wilson’s new San Diego team will include patent litigator F.T. Alexandra Mahaney, intellectual property specialist Jeffrey Guise and biotech patent law specialist Vicki Norton.

The trio will begin as early as next week, according to Dorman. A handful of additional lateral partners who are “in discussions” with firm management may join them next week as well.

Mahaney, Guise and Norton had gone to Pillsbury a little more than a year ago, after the collapse of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, said Pillsbury spokeswoman Crystal Rockwood. They joined Brobeck in 2000 from Lyon & Lyon, which is also now defunct.

“We wish them well in their endeavors,” Rockwood said.

Mahaney, Guise and Norton did not return calls seeking comment on Monday.

San Diego, a hot spot for life sciences, has been attracting top California firms for years. Pillsbury opened a second office there, in Carmel Valley, more than six years ago, Rockwood said.

Wilson made no secret of its long-standing desire to move in, said Dorman, adding that six or seven Wilson partners regularly worked out of the firm’s temporary offices in that city.

But Wilson waited for the right combination of people to make it all fit, she said.

Carl Baier, president of Baier Legal Search said, “It seemed like a prudent, well-thought-out move into a market that makes sense for them.”

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