Photo: J. Albert Diaz/ALM

DLA Piper has added Eric Hagen, most recently head of the trade secrets practice at McDermott Will & Emery, as a partner for its intellectual property and technology practice in Los Angeles.

Hagen’s hire was announced on July 12, the same day that McDermott touted its addition of DLA Piper’s former Chicago IP head and trademark partner Christina “Tina” Martini, who once served as the firm’s former national hiring partner. Martini’s move to McDermott was the latest in a series of lateral recruits made by that firm from DLA Piper so far this year.

Asked about the timing of his decision to switch firms, Hagen called it coincidental when compared with the recent activity between DLA Piper and McDermott, the latter of which said in an internal memorandum earlier this year that it had hired a $100 million group of lawyers from the global legal giant. As an IP practitioner, Hagen said he was attracted to DLA Piper’s global platform and its emphasis on its IP and technology practice.

Eric Hagen.

“Los Angeles is a competitive market, it is good to be at a firm that’s devoted to the area,” said Hagen about DLA Piper.

The 3,609-lawyer firm has dramatically expanded its presence in the city since last summer, when DLA Piper acquired Liner LLP, a 60-lawyer, Los Angeles-based boutique focused on clients in the entertainment, new media, private equity, real estate and restructuring space. Since then, DLA Piper has continued to bring on partners in Los Angeles and elsewhere on the West Coast. Some of DLA Piper’s more recent hires in Los Angeles include bringing on former Barnes & Thornburg litigation partner Levi Heath, as well as two other corporate lawyers in Silicon Valley.

“The addition of Eric to the firm is a key component of our strategic plan to grow our capabilities and enhance our service offerings on the West Coast and particularly in Southern California,” said a statement by Stuart Liner, co-managing partner of DLA Piper’s Los Angeles offices. “His practice and experience will boost our ability to serve the needs of clients based and doing business in the region, and we look forward to his many contributions.”

At DLA Piper, Hagen will continue to advise clients on complex commercial disputes involving patents, trade secrets and unfair competition claims. He began his legal career as an associate at another global giant, Baker McKenzie, before moving to Kirkland & Ellis in 1999. Hagen spent nearly a decade at the firm, joining McDermott in 2007 in a move that he described to The Recorder at the time as being driven by client conflicts. Hagen has represented companies in a range of industries, such as entertainment, financial services, life sciences and technology.

With Hagen’s addition, DLA Piper now has 81 lawyers in Los Angeles, the firm said. Hagen is the 12th member of its IP and technology group in the city. Firmwide, DLA Piper has more than 200 lawyers devoted to that practice group. DLA Piper saw its gross revenue climb to $2.63 billion last year and it has remained active on the lateral hiring front in 2018, although the firm has also had to cope with the departure of a 50-strong team to McDermott, as well as raids by other rivals.

In a statement, McDermott wished Hagen “the very best in his next endeavor” after his nearly dozen years at the 985-lawyer firm, which saw its gross revenue rise to $925.5 million in 2017, according to data compiled by ALM Intelligence.