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Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath has added a new partner to its growing corporate and securities practice group. Guy Winters came to the firm last week after spending five years at the venture capital fund PA Early Stage Partners, where he served as partner and general counsel. Winters will work in the private equity subset of the corporate and securities practice area, with a focus on technology and life science venture capitals, he said. Winters said he was looking for new challenges in his career when he talked to Stephen T. Burdumy, who came to Drinker Biddle’s corporate and securities practice as a lateral hire three years ago. Winters said he was sold on Drinker Biddle’s dedication to the practice area and the resources the firm invests in it. “Drinker Biddle has excellent lawyers, a great client base and years and years of experience,” he said about the firm’s private equity practice. Winters said he is looking forward to adding to that history with his expertise in venture capital and emerging growth businesses. Head of the corporate and securities practice group Doug Raymond said private equity needs is a growing trend the firm sees in the local market place. “The firm has been strategically developing our resources in those areas over the last several years,” Raymond said. That commitment has helped build Burdumy’s practice. “Drinker has offered my clients tremendous resources,” he said. “It was a big boom to the growth of my business.” Raymond said he hopes to help Winters build out his practice as well, and looks forward to adding Winters’ real world experience to the practice group. According to the co-chairman of the firm’s business and finance department, H. John Michel Jr., private equity has been an active market nationally and globally for years, with a boom over the last three to four years. The firm has added corporate and securities partners in its San Francisco and Princeton, N.J., offices over the last two years, and would ultimately like to add 25 lawyers in the related areas among all its offices in the next year, Michel said. “A component of our strategy is to try to grow areas where we’re strong and have historically been strong,” Michel said. Legal recruiter Cathy Abelson of Abelson Legal Search said Drinker Biddle has been strong in its private equity practice, but it is not the only firm in town focusing on the area. “The corporate partners in town are absolutely looking to expand this area,” she said. Michael Coleman, of Coleman Legal Search, said this was an excellent acquisition for Drinker Biddle. “I know that Guy spoke to a number of firms and got a number of offers,” Coleman said. He added that several Philadelphia firms would have an interest in Winters because of the contacts he brings from PA Early Stage. Burdumy said the firm may have been quiet about the private equity practice a few years ago when the economy was not very strong. That has changed, however, with what he estimates is a 50 percent increase in business from just last year. One area that is growing with private equity at Drinker Biddle is intellectual property. With most of the clients involved in technology-based businesses, Winters said it’s important to offer a client solid legal protection during the creation of the business and its products. Winters, as does Burdumy, will be servicing clients at all stages of forming and investing in business, from emerging growth companies looking for funding to companies preparing to go public, Raymond said. “We’re involved in the whole life cycle of these companies as they grow,” Winters said. That’s one of the reasons Raymond was so pleased to have Winters join his team. “Guy is somebody who has really deep and broad connections in emerging growth companies and companies who are looking to go public,” he said. Michel said the firm has been historically strong in mergers and acquisitions, particularly buyout funds, hedge funds and venture capital. He said Winters fits into the firm’s strategy because he has experience in all those areas, with particular expertise in venture capital. Prior to joining PA Early Stage Partners, Winters was involved in private practice at Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy. Drinker Biddle’s expansion of its private equity practice is a bit of good news after the firm took some hits in recent months. It lost a 14-lawyer white collar litigation team to Morgan Lewis earlier this year. And the firm is also coming off of tough numbers in the AmLaw 100 for 2004. Its gross revenue increased by only 3.4 percent, revenue per lawyer by 5.3 percent and the firm suffered a 2 percent dip in profits per partner. It was the firm’s second straight less than robust year. In 2003, its gross revenue increased by 3.8 percent, RPL by 1.1 percent and PPP by 4.1 percent. Drinker Biddle made its first appearance on the AmLaw 100 two years ago on the strength of a whopping 34 percent increase in gross revenue. Alfred Putnam took over as chairman of the firm for Jim Sweet in January, and has since said the corporate department is “going gangbusters.”

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