Locke Lord has lost another IP partner, Bryan Zerhusen, who left the Am Law 100 firm to join an intellectual property law firm based in Connecticut, Cantor Colburn.
Zerhusen was co-chair of Locke Lord’s life science practice group, and in his practice handles all aspects of national and international patent preparation and prosecution. He will now chair Cantor Colburn’s life sciences practice group from the firm’s Hartford headquarters.
“I’m excited to be at Cantor Colburn,” said Zerhusen, who holds a Ph.D. in cell physiology and biophysics. “We’re all looking forward to a bright future here.”
The decision to join Cantor Colburn came about as Dallas-based Locke Lord has seen many of its IP lawyers head for the exits since its 2015 merger with Boston-based Edwards Wildman Palmer.
“The composition of the IP group at Locke Lord has changed over the last few years,” Zerhusen said.
The firm had lost a number of attorneys, as well as the associates and support staff that are necessary to run a robust patent prosecution practice, he said.
“So I looked at Cantor, with the depth and experience that they have with life science attorneys, systems, and the number of people they have in support functions for patent prosecutions and IP transactional practice kind of made it a natural fit for me,” Zerhusen said.
A representative for Locke Lord did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Zerhusen began his legal career at McCarter & English in 2003 and nine years later became a partner at the Newark, New Jersey-based firm. Then, in 2014, Zerhusen joined Edwards Wildman Palmer as a partner in its intellectual property practice.
After Edwards Wildman merged with Locke Lord in 2015, Zerhusen said, conflicts led to the departures of prominent practitioners from the Boston-based firm’s robust life sciences and IP practice, including a 20-lawyer IP group that decamped for Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.
“The dominos fell after that,” Zerhusen said.
Since his practice didn’t suffer from the same types of conflicts, Zerhusen said he was able to maintain and operate a successful practice at Locke Lord for some time.
“But I think the perception and view of most of the people [working] on life sciences patent prosecution was that it wasn’t a good platform for what we were doing,” he said, noting that many of Lock Lorde’s life sciences and IP lawyers continued to trickle out over time.
Locke Lord partners Martin Jaszczuk and Daniel Schlessinger exited the firm’s Chicago office last year to join a shop specializing in U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation. Maria Scungio, co-chair of Locke Lord’s trademark, copyright, and advertising practice, also left the firm last year to join the New York office of Boston-based IP boutique Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks.
This year the firm, which posted a 9.8 percent decline in gross revenue last year, also lost IP partners Jason Mueller and David Silvia who departed for Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton and McCarter & English, respectively.
Zerhusen said moving his practice to Cantor Colburn would have benefits ranging from the expertise of the firm’s attorneys to the strength of its back-office operations for IP matters.
The firm’s lower rate structure also drew him to Cantor Colburn, he said, adding that he already had clients in common with the firm.
“I wanted to get out of the general practice firm business model, [which] just in my view, seems to be headed in the wrong direction for patent prosecution and IP transactional work,” Zerhusen said.
“The constant battle between raising rates, increasing margins and reducing staff in order to increase the per attorney margins for me was antithetical to trying to run a robust patent prosecution practice,” he said.
In addition to adding Zerhusen to its ranks, Cantor Colburn last month picked up former Jones Day Taiwan IP coordinator Doug Weinstein, who joined as counsel.