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Feeling as if Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner is giving short shrift to its transactional lawyers, several in the firm’s Chicago-IP group have decided to go elsewhere. Among them is Malcolm “Mac” McCaleb Jr., who left Foley in April and brought along a senior associate, two veteran paralegals and legal secretaries to set up an intellectual property department for the growing Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum, Perlman & Nagelberg. His may be one of the few IP practice launches orchestrated by trademark lawyers with an eye toward representing clients in the day-to-day protection of their portfolios — something McCaleb said wasn’t a priority at the primarily litigation-oriented Foley & Lardner. McCaleb said Foley is a “fine firm,” but he became dissatisfied with it over the past couple years. From the time he left the disintegrating and now defunct Keck, Mahin & Cate in 1995 to join Foley, he said, the new home team seemed to become top heavy with litigators who wielded the most clout. The result was, “a lack of appreciation for the value of a trademark practice at all,” he explained. “Those of us who were not primarily litigators felt like we were really left holding the short end of the stick.” There may be good reason for that perception of a shift in the firm’s strategic game plan. The head of the IP practice in Milwaukee, for instance, is veteran litigator Richard S. Florsheim. Also, former Cook County, Ill. Board of Commissioners President and litigator Richard J. Phelan heads the 100-plus-member office here in Chicago. Phelan, however, denies Foley is shirking its transactional responsibilities. “I think our IP department has an emphasis on transactional work and litigation,” he said, noting that, “all the people that did leave are being replaced.” Still, McCaleb wasn’t alone in feeling under appreciated at Foley. Patent attorney Jefferson Perkins, for instance, is taking his transactional practice to the Chicago office of Piper, Marbury, Rudnick & Wolfe P.C. where he will supervise a young group of lawyers who understand the technology of the field. At Foley, however, “There was a lot of emphasis on wanting to have more litigation, but not represent clients’ interests on a day-to-day transactional basis,” said McCaleb, whose team handles IP portfolios for consumer products companies and does enforcement work for a leading drug store chain, among others. McCaleb’s senior associate, Carolyn E. Knecht, began to feel the same way. She also said she realized it may have been an uphill battle to make partner at Foley & Lardner. “There was a lot stacked against me,” Knecht said. Not so at Barack, she added. Built on a real estate practice, Barack has grown from six attorneys in 1985 to more than 60. Besides McCaleb and Knecht, three litigators have recently come on board — James R. Vogler, Randall L. Oyler, and Dianne Hicklen, who also recently left Foley’s Chicago office. As the firm continues to grow, the Barack leadership under co-managing partners Charles Perlman and Howard J. Kirschbaum has been looking to diversify to bring a measure of stability to the firm. Already having expanded its commercial litigation practice, Perlman said the firm decided to focus on intellectual property because it is a significant growing area. “Real estate is great, but it won’t last forever,” Perlman said. And when he saw that McCaleb, a classmate from his Northwestern University law school days, was available, he seized the opportunity it presented. “He’s a terrific guy and a terrific lawyer and I knew he would fit in here,” Perlman said.

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