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Andrew Mottes has packed a lot into his nine years as a lawyer. Changing firms, changing practice focus, assuming a management role, dealing with a significant merger and becoming a partner at a major national firm only five years out of law school. Now he has come full circle, returning to the firm and practice area in which he began. After almost four years since he left to become a partner in the Philadelphia office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Mottes returned last week to Dechert and his work as a litigator in technology-related matters. “I never lost touch with the people at Dechert,” Mottes said. “They were always my friends. But what it came down to is that litigation was and is my first love, and this gave me the chance to do that again for a firm that has one of the best litigation departments in the country.” Mottes originally joined Dechert immediately after graduating from Columbia School of Law in 1992, working with the firm’s trial team — which included partners Arthur Newbold, Mary McLaughlin and Mari Shaw — that focused on technology litigation. Shaw left the group in the summer of 1996 to start Akin Gump’s Philadelphia office, and eventually recruited Mottes to join her by the end of the following year. “I went partially because of my relationship with Mari,” Mottes said. “But there was also the fact that becoming a partner at a major, national firm was too good to pass up for a fifth-year lawyer.” Veteran litigator Edward Mannino became the firm’s third partner in 1998, and the office began to grow gradually. But then Shaw decided to leave for Morgan Lewis & Bockius during summer 1999, right when the firm was involved in merger negotiations with 28-attorney IP boutique Panitch Schwarze Jacobs & Nadel. In the interim, Mottes was named managing partner of what was a six-attorney office. “That was a difficult time,” Mottes said. “I respect and admire [Shaw] but it was tough because we didn’t know what was going to happen with the office. I didn’t want to follow her to Morgan Lewis [as one associate did]. I had the option to go to the firm’s Washington office but my family and my wife’s family are both from this area, so we didn’t want to relocate.” During that period of uncertainty, Mottes did get a taste for what it was like to manage an office, albeit a small one. “I never really wanted to get involved in administration, but now I certainly admire those who do it,” Mottes said. “It really distracts you from your ability to practice law.” The Panitch Schwarze merger went through in the summer of 1999 at which time that firm’s leader, Ronald Panitch, became Akin’s Philadelphia office managing partner, leaving Mottes to concentrate solely on his practice again. But the venerable IP boutique’s focus was on a strong patent prosecution and protection group and Roberta Jacobs — Meadway’s trademark group. Mottes, who did pass the patent bar in 1994, was forced to adjust his technology litigation-heavy practice to fit in with his new partners. “In a way it was like joining a new firm all over again because the Philadelphia office essentially became Panitch Schwarze,” Mottes said. “I always liked litigation but Ron’s [Panitch] firm focused more on patent prosecution. It was a great opportunity to learn something new.” So his practice switched toward patent prosecution, with a built-in client feeder coming from the Panitch Schwarze lawyers. He did generate his own litigation clients, but that work took up less of his time than the prosecution matters. “I think I could have had a great career handling patent prosecution work but I really missed the litigation,” Mottes said. “I didn’t shop around. I just called up Arnie Newbold and said, ‘Let’s talk.’ “ After they did talk, Mottes returned to his former firm as a partner and was assigned to the IP group and the business and technology group, where his main focus will be on technology litigation. He will also use his technological expertise to help companies develop IP strategies that will maximize their value. “We have a burgeoning IP litigation practice and he gives us additional depth and a terrific technology background in hot areas like electrical engineering and computer science,” Dechert IP partner Glenn Gunderson said. “Because he was with us before, we know we’re getting a good lawyer with top-notch technical training. But now he has been exposed to patent prosecution work, which is really helpful experience for a litigator to have.” Panitch said he hates to lose a colleague such as Mottes but understands why he decided to return to his old stomping grounds at Dechert. “He’s a terrific guy who I think will do well at Dechert because he wanted to get heavily back into litigation,” Panitch said. “We’ll miss him but we have a strategy in place here for the growth of this office and it will continue.” Earlier this year, Jacobs-Meadway, along with her husband/partner Jay and an associate, left the firm for Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll. Panitch decided to fill much of the void on the trademark side, moving away from his patent prosecution work. The firm took heart in that it retained six of seven associates from the trademark group. Mottes is a 1987 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned bachelor of science degrees in computer engineering and management science. He earned a master’s of science degree in electrical engineering, with a concentration in signal processing, from Villanova University in 1989, and a juris doctorate from Columbia Law in 1992, where he was a Stone Scholar and the managing editor of the Columbia Law Review.

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