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IP attorney Ian Ballon wrapped up five years with L.A.-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to join international behemoth Greenberg Traurig as a partner. His first day was Monday. “He’s a good guy and a good lawyer, and we wish him all the best,” said Manatt Managing Partner Paul Irving. Ballon, a former co-chairman of Manatt’s intellectual property and Internet practice group, said client conflict played a role in his departure. Without giving details, he said the conflict was affecting his practice. Greenberg’s “huge” entertainment and IP practices also influenced Ballon’s decision to join the firm, and he expects his clients to follow. Ballon counts eBay Inc., Fujitsu, Knight Ridder, Universal Studios and the San Jose Sharks on his roster. Greenberg representatives said Ballon’s split from Manatt came at a good time for them. The firm has been aggressively expanding throughout California since March of last year when it opened offices in East Palo Alto and Orange County. Since then, the Palo Alto office has grown to 35 attorneys, up from seven in March 2004. Greenberg partner Heather Meeker said the hiring streak isn’t over for the firm’s key practice areas, including IP, corporate securities and real estate. “There will be more hires,” she said. “Getting Ian is a huge win for us,” Meeker added. “We want to bring a truly national IP practice to the Silicon Valley. Because we have offices in so many cities, we are able to handle litigation extremely effectively because we rarely have to use local counsel.” Greenberg is a full-service 1,000-attorney firm with 31 U.S. locations. Its California IP group has 40 lawyers. Manatt has seven offices nationwide, including Palo Alto, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Orange County. Ballon serves as executive director of the Stanford Law School Center for E-Commerce, designed as a forum for scholars. He previously was a partner at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner and started his career at Brown & Bain. Reporter Marie-Anne Hogarth contributed to this article.

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