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When intellectual property boutique Lyon & Lyon closed its doors Saturday, its Irvine, Calif., office fell to San Francisco’s Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Orrick announced Thursday that it has hired nine partners and one of counsel from Los Angeles-based Lyon & Lyon. All but two of the attorneys are based in the Irvine office. The deal gives Orrick an immediate presence in the Orange County city and bolsters its growing IP practice. “We felt for a long time that to pursue technology and IP practices in Southern California it would be good to be in Orange County,” said Orrick Herrington Chairman Ralph Baxter Jr. When Lyon & Lyon announced it was closing “we saw a chance to bring in the Orange County office.” In addition to the team of partners, Baxter said Orrick Herrington plans to hire 10 to 20 Lyon associates from the firm’s Los Angeles, Irvine and San Jose offices. With the additions, Orrick Herrington will have about 100 IP attorneys firmwide. The Lyon team joining Orrick Herrington includes partners James Brooks, Charles Fowler, James Geriak, Hope Melville, Jeffrey Miller, Kurt Mulville, Kenneth Roberts, David Wang and Lisa Ward and of counsel Samuel Stone. Brooks is based in Los Angeles and Miller is based in San Jose. They will join Orrick Herrington’s L.A. and Menlo Park, Calif., offices, respectively. Since the 90-attorney Lyon & Lyon announced Aug. 8 that it was shutting down, several firms have been wooing the partners. “We were in parallel discussions for the last several weeks with four firms,” said Geriak, the head of Lyon’s Irvine office. In addition to Orrick Herrington, the group also talked with Palo Alto, Calif.-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, but Orrick proved to be the better suitor. “We found that in our discussions with Orrick we had a marvelous cultural fit,” Geriak said. “In addition to being very talented lawyers, their personalities and other attributes meshed with our people and we liked them a lot.” The Lyon attorneys have spent their entire career at Lyon. Geriak, who joined the firm more than 40 years ago, said that was true for most of the attorneys at Lyon, which at its height in 1997 had about 150 lawyers. Orrick Herrington is among several firms that have snapped up Lyon lawyers. Bingham McCutchen hired partners David Burse, Peter Mei and Bernard Rose, along with two associates, two paralegals and two or three secretaries. The group will move from Lyon & Lyon’s San Jose outpost to Bingham’s East Palo Alto office. Last week, L.A.’s O’Melveny & Myers announced it had hired five Lyon lawyers, and Perkins Coie announced it had picked up two. Lyon & Lyon decided to close its doors after merger discussions with San Francisco’s Townsend and Townsend and Crew broke down. The firm had suffered a steady stream of departures that began two years ago when a group of attorneys from the San Diego office defected to San Francisco-based Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. “It really was a collection of personal decisions,” Geriak said. “There was no single pivotal event or trend.” “I don’t think the demise of Lyon was particularly because it was an IP boutique,” Burse added. “It was death by 50 cuts, a lot of different things.”

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