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William Gaede III, an IP litigator and 16-year attorney at Cooley Godward, starts a new job today at McDermott, Will & Emery’s Palo Alto office. Gaede, who will be co-chairman of McDermott’s biotechnology and life sciences practice group, brings with him such clients as Amgen Inc., payment provider Certegy Inc. and Serena Software Inc. He will join Michele Moreland, a former Cooley associate who jumped to McDermott last month. Both attorneys were recruited by the firm of Watanabe Nason & Seltzer. Moreland earned a promotion to income partner with the move. “Bill’s addition to the firm brings a significant life science practice to this Palo Alto office,” said Anthony de Alcuaz, who heads up McDermott’s Palo Alto office. “Bill is a recognized expert and lead counsel on complex matters involving biotechnology and pharma.” McDermott, which has added six lateral partners in its Palo Alto office over the last 12 months, has hired about 40 lawyers there in the last five years. For Cooley, Gaede is the fifth partner to leave in the past month. The list includes IP litigator Brandon Baum, who left for Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, and immigration practice partners Lance Nagel and A. James Vazquez-Azpiri, who jumped in January to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Also in January, tech partner Andrew Basile Jr. left to open a Palo Alto branch of his father’s Michigan-based patent boutique, 23-lawyer Young & Basile. Another significant move occurred last spring when seven IP lawyers led by Jeffrey Randall left for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Carl Baier, a recruiter specializing in IP attorneys, commented that many lawyers move at the start of the year following bonus awards. Some of the Cooley alumni interviewed Thursday talked of the benefits of joining a larger platform. Cooley Godward has just one office outside the West Coast — in Reston, Va. “I was certainly interested in the large East Coast presence, and access to pharmaceutical companies both on the East Coast and in Europe,” Gaede said. McDermott already did some work for Amgen. C. Cabell Chinnis Jr., who heads Mayer Brown’s Palo Alto office, said his firm courted Baum because of his trial experience. “McDermott has been extremely aggressive in recruiting partners,” he said. “Like any regional firm, Cooley faces competition from firms that have the allure of an international platform.” “I just thought Skadden had a better opportunity and a better platform,” said partner Chuck Ebertin, who left Cooley with Randall last year. “Skadden had an international reach that Cooley did not have.” Cooley’s attorney head count shrank 10 percent to 418 attorneys in 2004, according to The Recorder’s annual survey of revenues and profits. Gross revenue was flat at $289 million, but profits per equity partner were up 11 percent to $850,000. Cooley Chief Operating Officer Mark Pitchford wouldn’t comment on individual departures and said he didn’t know about any client defections. “We are as strong as ever as a firm,” he said. Randall wasn’t too worried about his old firm. “Cooley will do fine, whether they go at it alone or merge with another firm,” he said. “I truly believe that they have very talented lawyers.”

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