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Four corporate and securities partners at Heller Ehrman in San Diego have defected to DLA Piper. The departures indicate a continuing instability in Heller’s San Diego office, which saw nearly half of its corporate practice head for the exits in a six-week period this time last year. Joining DLA Piper are Michael Kagnoff, Martin Nichols, Jeffrey Thacker and Ross Burningham. All four originally joined Heller as part of a large group that came from Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, as that firm was collapsing. While at Brobeck, Kagnoff, at 30, became the youngest lawyer there to make partner. “We all are appreciative of the support we received at Heller and wish our former colleagues nothing but the best,” Kagnoff said. Kagnoff specializes in emerging biotech, medical device and healthcare services companies as part of a general corporate practice. He’s worked with venture funds, handled public offerings, mergers and acquisitions and venture financing. Nichols, formerly a member of Heller’s cleantech management committee, also has a corporate practice that handles emerging growth and established technology companies. Thacker specializes in securities law and corporate practice from public offerings, private placements, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and restructuring. He has represented technology companies specializing in the medical device, software and information systems sectors. Burningham concentrates his practice on emerging growth technology companies, managing a broad range of transactions from private placement, public offerings, mergers, spin-offs, joint ventures and other strategic collaborations. The lateral moves to DLA Piper come on the heels of the firm’s opening of a new Houston office and addition of Michael Bolton as a corporate partner there. DLA Piper has 3,700 lawyers in 25 countries and 64 offices throughout the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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