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It wasn’t long ago that Morgan, Lewis & Bockius was one of the most aggressive players in the market for laterals. It feasted on the carcass of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison when the California firm went belly-up in 2003. Then, later that year, three dozen lawyers joined Morgan from Pennie & Edmonds when the intellectual property boutique dissolved. But last week the firm’s IP practice was beset with defections. McDermott, Will & Emery took 15 patent litigators from Morgan’s New York office � a group that had originally joined the firm when Morgan acquired Hopgood, Calimafde, Judlowe & Mondolino in 2002. Then, later in the week, Cooley Godward announced it had poached the two co-chairs of the firm’s life sciences IP group in Washington. Joining Cooley’s fledgling D.C. office are Michael Tuscan and Erich Veitenheimer III. How many associates will join Cooley remains uncertain, with Tuscan and Veitenheimer saying they expect five junior lawyers to follow, and Morgan saying it expects three to go. Veitenheimer says that the departures in Washington and New York weren’t coordinated, though he adds, “whether we had some knowledge of [their] dissatisfaction with Morgan is a different question.” Despite the defections, Morgan’s leadership says the firm is enjoying a strong year. “We are on an upward trend, notwithstanding these departures,” says Eric Kraeutler, head of the firm’s IP litigation group.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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