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Howrey has lured away the managing partner of Dewey Ballantine’s shrinking Silicon Valley office, another aftershock of the New York firm’s failed merger with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Jeannine Yoo Sano, who was also the co-chairwoman of the IP litigation practice group at Dewey, will be joining Howrey’s East Palo Alto office on May 1. “Jeannine is a very strong performer and I think it’s a wonderful grab for Howrey’s East Palo Alto office,” said Gary Davis, a recruiter and consultant with Patterson Davis Consulting in San Francisco who was not involved in the deal. “She’s quite a force in the Valley � she’s well-known, she’s well-regarded.” Sano said it was the depth and history of Howrey’s IP practice � the 630-lawyer Washington, D.C.-based firm focuses only on IP, antitrust and global litigation � that drew her to the firm. The IP litigator counts Rambus Inc. and Intel Corp. among her clients. “I’m really proud of what we’ve built at Dewey,” said Sano, who headed the office since its inception in 2002. “At Howrey, I realized, I would have a much larger team and a much larger playground and it was too tempting.” Dewey’s Silicon Valley office, which at its height had about 25 lawyers, has now shrunk to eight attorneys, including just one partner, according to the firm’s Web site. Sano said the failed merger talks with Orrick earlier this year were a factor in that. “As a result of the merger talks, there were some opportunities that got offered to people,” said Sano, noting the recent departure of a few associates. “It probably affected this office more than others because it’s so small.”
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Dewey lost a number of high-profile partners across the country in the run-up to the merger. Unrelated to the merger fallout, the firm’s East Palo Alto office also lost a group of IP litigators, headed by well-known IP lawyer James Elacqua, to Dechert at the beginning of last year. Jeffrey Kessler, head of Dewey’s litigation practice, said partner Aldo Badini will relocate from New York to serve as acting managing partner. “We are in it for the long haul in the Bay Area and are going to redouble our efforts to ensure that we grow and thrive,” Kessler said. “While we’ve had a bit of a rough patch this last year, these are only temporary setbacks. We wish Jeannine well.” Henry Bunsow, Howrey managing partner for Northern California, said the “widely respected” Sano will be a key addition to the firm. He said she comes on board as part of a strategy to expand the firm in the Bay Area. “Our expansion plan is to almost double in the next two to three years,” said Bunsow. “Jeannine just offers us additional proven senior-level talent to grow behind.” The firm recently added an antitrust partner, David Stewart from RealNetworks, to its San Francisco office. Sano is the second Dewey IP partner to join Howrey in recent months. Cono Carrano, a friend of Sano and the other co-head of the IP litigation practice group at Dewey, joined the firm’s Washington, D.C., office last month. “It’s always nice to work with your friends,” Sano said. She’ll also be working near most of her old colleagues. The two firms work out of the same building in East Palo Alto: Howrey’s office is on the fourth floor and Dewey’s is on the fifth.

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