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Last winter, Heller Ehrman inaugurated its new office space on Rhode Island Avenue Northwest with a festive reception that included drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and even a choir performance. It was a celebration of the firm’s commitment to the Washington market, where it has bulked up practices like antitrust and bankruptcy. But the San Francisco-based firm is finding that rapid expansion sometimes leads to rapid contraction. Last week four intellectual property attorneys — former practice co-chair Colin Sandercock, John Isacson, Paul Booth, and David Laub — jumped ship to Proskauer Rose, a New York-based firm whose $1.1 million profits-per-partner well outstrip Heller’s $885,000. The group, which focuses on transactional and litigation work for biotech and pharmaceutical clients, is expected to woo away a few more associates as well. The draw, says Booth, is a firm with a European presence and “an exciting client base that is complementary to what we do.” Heller’s firmwide managing partner Robert Hubbell says he doesn’t anticipate the defections having a major impact on his firm. “It is becoming more and more of a fact of life at large law firms that there is movement.”
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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