When Morgan, Lewis & Bockius scooped up Dennis Mondolino’s 35-lawyer patent boutique in 2001, it was supposed to be a feather in the cap for the firm and its intellectual property practice. The boutique, the former Hopgood Calimafde Judlowe & Mondolino of New York, had high-profile clients and a solid reputation for patent litigation, which seemed to fit with Morgan’s goals.

Alas, it was a poor match from the start. Management dropped the Hopgood group into the litigation practice instead of the traditional IP practice, ruffling the feathers of other Morgan Lewis partners in New York and sowing discontent firmwide. At least 30 Morgan IP lawyers, including 13 partners, have left the firm in the last year. Three out of four trademark partners in the New York office alone have exited, along with several IP stars from Morgan’s Washington, D.C., patent group. To top it off, in November, Mondolino and half of the former Hopgood group defected to McDermott Will & Emery.