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A day after Skjerven Morrill announced its decision to close shop, two separate groups of the San Jose, Calif.-based firm’s most prominent attorneys declared new homes. More than half of Skjerven’s 15 litigation partners, including name partner Robert Morrill and Chairman Edward Anderson, are moving to Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. And a group of 15 Skjerven attorneys, including eight partners, is moving to San Francisco-based Pillsbury Winthrop. Both firms were reported to be in discussions with Skjerven attorneys, but until now it has been unclear which partners were involved and how big the groups in play were. The group of nine partners joining Sidley Austin consists entirely of intellectual property litigators. The group fills a gap in Sidley Austin’s 35-attorney San Francisco office. “One of the strategic objectives that we set was not only to establish a significant securities and commercial litigation practice here, but also a significant patent trial litigation practice,” said Theodore Miller, the managing partner of Sidley Austin’s West Coast offices. The other partners joining Sidley Austin are Peter Kang, Richard Nelson, Bryan Anderson, Matthew Powers, Philip Woo, Russell Johnson and Georgia Van Zanten. Both Miller and Edward Anderson met individually with various Skjerven associates Tuesday. According to Anderson, as many as 15 IP litigation associates could join Sidley Austin as well. In the months leading up to Skjerven’s decision to dissolve, the 62-lawyer firm made unsuccessful merger overtures to both Sidley Austin and Pillsbury Winthrop. Last week Pillsbury Chairwoman Mary Cranston revealed that the firm was in discussions with a group of Skjerven partners. Many of the corporate partners at Skjerven had previously practiced at Pillsbury, including Skjerven’s current managing partner, David Hopmann. According to Pillsbury firmwide Managing Partner Marina Park, eight of the 15 Skjerven attorneys making the move are Pillsbury alumni. Among them are Reginald Steer, a commercial and IP litigator whose clients include J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Borders Group Inc. Other partners joining Pillsbury include Vernon Granneman and Robert Phelps. Pillsbury would not identify the majority of its new Skjerven hires, citing the need to conclude conflict checks and work out insurance issues. Skjerven’s Hopmann did not return calls regarding his plans. The group of attorneys joining Pillsbury includes both IP litigators and corporate attorneys, and will be split between the firm’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. “Any time you have an opportunity to bring a team of lawyers who work well together, it’s great to keep those people together,” said Park. “With lawyers, the sum of the parts is always greater than the parts.”

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