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New York’s Dewey Ballantine announced Monday it had hired 11 intellectual property partners from San Francisco’s Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, taking about half of Brobeck’s strength in that practice area. The move is yet another blow to beleaguered Brobeck, once among the leading law firms of the technology boom. “We’d been looking to bolster our intellectual property capacity for a number of years,” said Dewey Chairman Everett Jassy. The Brobeck group was particularly attractive, he said, because it constituted a “very cohesive national practice.” The Brobeck group is spread among three offices across the country. On joining Dewey next month, James J. Elacqua, the current head of Brobeck’s 24-partner IP group, will launch the firm’s Palo Alto, Calif., office with four other partners: Stephen J. Rosenman, Craig Y. Allison, Andrew N. Thomases and Jeannine Yoo Sano. At the same time, four other Brobeck partners, W. Bryan Farney, Wayne M. Harding, James D. Smith and Kevin Kudlac, will open a Dewey office in Austin, Texas; and partners Cono A. Carrano and Anthony W. Shaw will join Dewey’s Washington, D.C., office. The offices work together in many instances, said Elacqua, with the Washington partners taking matters before the International Trade Commission. Among the group’s active matters are litigations for Intel, Gateway, Idec Pharmaceuticals and Broadcom. Dewey currently has a two-lawyer office in Menlo Park, Calif., but Jassy said that office would eventually be folded into the Palo Alto office, where the firm is hoping to have a total of 30 lawyers within the next few months. Elacqua said his group would eventually require between 30 and 40 associates, but he said many of them would likely come from firms other than Brobeck. Elacqua took some pains to distance his group’s departure from that orchestrated by former Brobeck Chairman Tower Snow, who led 20 other partners, mostly litigators, to the new West Coast offices of London’s Clifford Chance in June. Brobeck Chairman Richard S. Odom and Managing Partner Richard Parker had Snow expelled from the Brobeck partnership when they learned of his plans. “I have a very good relationship with Rick [Parker] and Dick [Odom],” he said. “I expect that to continue.” Elacqua said his group had talked to many large firms from New York, Chicago and elsewhere but decided to join Dewey because it was a “very balanced” firm that could thrive despite the current adverse economic conditions. “There is no one practice area that dominates,” he said. “I think they’ve weathered the storm better than most firms.” PROFITS PER PARTNER Dewey has certainly weathered the economy better than Brobeck. According to The American Lawyer‘s Am Law 100, Dewey had profits per partner in 2001 of $1.1 million, slightly up from the year before. Brobeck’s profits dropped 40 percent between 2000 and 2001, from $1.1 million to $660,000; Brobeck has also seen a large number of associate layoffs in the last year. Most recently the firm postponed start dates for a number of incoming first-year associates. Paul Finigan, managing partner of Brobeck’s San Francisco office, said Brobeck’s litigation and IP practices remain vibrant and active, and he said remaining partners have a “positive and optimistic view of the firm’s opportunities.” But he acknowledged the firm was suffering attrition of partners who saw greater economic opportunity with other firms. “Some partners, who may be motivated primarily by measures like profits per partner, may feel the need or desire to go elsewhere,” said Finigan. “We wish them well.” Jassy said large firms from elsewhere are likely finding partners at Bay Area firms receptive to offers. “With profits down, people are certainly willing to talk,” he said.

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