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After nearly seven years at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, intellectual property law notables Roberta Jacobs-Meadway and Jay K. Meadway are set to join Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott as partners by the end of the month. The married couple, who made the jump together from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to Ballard Spahr in 2001, will forge Eckert Seamans’ first IP practice in Philadelphia. Prior to his law firm experience, Jay Meadway was an in-house trademark attorney for Pfizer Inc., dealing primarily with worldwide consumer products trademarks. “Jay and I had an opportunity to help Eckert develop an IP practice in Philadelphia and to complement the IP practices it already has in Pittsburgh and Boston,” said Jacobs-Meadway. Both attorneys’ practices focus primarily on trademarks, with Jay Meadway’s practice concentrating on foreign trademark protection. “Bobbi and Jay are both very highly regarded IP attorneys on the East Coast, if not nationally,” said Tim Ryan, chief executive officer of Eckert Seamans. “They’re tremendously talented as well as culturally compatible with our firm.” Eckert Seamans has been aggressive in its lateral hires recently, particularly in Philadelphia. But Ryan said the firm is only interested in hiring for quality, not quantity. “We’ve been blessed to be provided with the opportunities to provide our firm with best- in-class lawyers,” he said. “It’s not about a size issue.” He also insists the firm did not aggressively pursue the couple and that the partnering was the result of mutual interests. “We didn’t court them for very long,” he said, citing the firm’s “synergies and compatibilities” with both attorneys as the selling point. “We were introduced and we just came together.” Arthur Makadon, chairman of Ballard Spahr, blamed the parting of ways on his firm’s and the couple’s diverging interests in the realm of IP. “Our practices were evolving in different directions,” he said, adding that he felt Eckert Seamans provided a “terrific opportunity” for both attorneys and would be “far more suited” to their practices. “They were good colleagues but they weren’t focused on high margin clients, they were focused more on commodity work,” Makadon said. “We are trying to evolve.” Both Jacobs-Meadway and Jay Meadway said their decision to switch firms was based on the opportunities they saw at Eckert Seamans rather than any limitations or conflicts they may have had at Ballard Spahr, where both were partners. “We certainly enjoyed the time we spent [at Ballard Spahr],” said Jay Meadway. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity at Eckert Seamans.” Once Jacobs-Meadway and Jay Meadway leave, Ballard Spahr’s Philadelphia IP department will be down to 18 attorneys who list intellectual property law as a practice area and 13 who list it as one of their main focuses, according to the firm’s Web page. When asked what kind of effect the attorneys’ departure would have on the firm’s IP department, Makadon answered, “None, no negative effect.” But according to Manny Pokotilow, managing shareholder of IP boutique Caesar Revise Bernstein Cohen & Pokotilow, the loss of two well-known, reputable attorneys could be a blow to the firm, especially considering the considerable client base the two will take with them when they leave. “I think it’s a loss for Ballard Spahr,” he said. “They’re both first-rate attorneys and I think it will leave a big hole in their trademark and intellectual property department.” The Legal named Jacobs-Meadway one of 2001′s Top 10 Lateral Hires after she left Akin Gump. She is a member of the American Bar Association’s federal legislation committee. Both Jacobs-Meadway and Jay Meadway are members of the International Trademark Association.

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