Photo: Rick Kopstein/ALM

LeClairRyan, which saw four lawyers leave its Sacramento office last year for Buchalter, has restocked its outpost in California’s capital by bringing on a patent prosecution group that includes three attorneys and five staffers.

The new group will be led by former FisherBroyles partners Charles Yang and John Yang. The two Yangs, although not related, have built their practices together since John Yang joined Charles Yang’s former Sacramento-based intellectual property boutique Ntellect Law in 2016.

The third lawyer coming to LeClairRyan is Todd Martin, who joined Ntellect Law from Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young in 2015. Ntellect Law was subsequently acquired a year ago this month by FisherBroyles, a pioneering firm in the virtual law space.

Charles Yang.

“The first reason is efficiency,” said Charles Yang about the decision to leave FisherBroyles after a year for LeClairRyan. He noted that the latter recently announced a joint venture with UnitedLex Corp., a growing giant in the alternative legal services space. That joint venture, known as ULX Partners, will create a platform that allows participating law firms to outsource their nonlegal operations and access funds for additional investments.

“I feel a lot of synergy in patent prosecution, and the resources that ULX Partners will provide,” Yang said. “We think that with the additional resources, we’ll be able to take that efficiency and our practice area to the next level, and leverage that to provide more value to our clients.”

Charles Yang’s practice focuses on doing patent prosecution work for the optics, semiconductor and consumer products industries.

“LeClairRyan shares the same vision as we do,” said Charles Yang, who began his legal career at Baker McKenzie, where he spent more than a half-dozen years at the global legal giant. “We both look at China, and more generally the Asia-Pacific region, as a growth opportunity.”

Meanwhile, John Yang works on all aspects of IP for the chemical, electrical, mechanical and semiconductor sectors. The two Yangs have spent years developing their client base in China. Charles Yang is able to speak Cantonese, while John Yang speaks Taiwanese. Both are fluent in Mandarin.

John Yang.

“We meet at [Baker McKenzie] about almost 10 years ago, and I then went in-house, so I bring in the perspective of the more business practice solution, having been in-house for four or five years,” said John Yang. “Charles brings that private practice expertise.”

John Yang was at Baker McKenzie for about a year and Greenberg Traurig for another five years before heading in-house in 2010. Prior to joining Ntellect Law in 2016, he served as senior director of intellectual property at SharkNinja Operating, a company that makes television-marketed products such as Ninja blenders and Shark vacuum cleaners. Charles Yang, for his part, left Baker McKenzie in 2013 to start his own practice.

The new patent prosecution group joining LeClairRyan will work with Patricia Peden, who leads the firm’s IP practice from San Francisco, having joined the office in early 2015 after leaving now-defunct national IP boutique Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg.

“Having worked with them for years, we know the high-caliber of services they can offer our clients,” Peden said in a statement. “Their experience working with Chinese clients is a particularly important addition, as our firm continues to expand its global reach.“

LeClairRyan is a Richmond, Virginia-based firm that saw its gross revenue drop 11.2 percent in 2017, to $142.2 million. The now 302-lawyer firm set up shop in Sacramento in early 2015. LeClairRyan said it now has nine lawyers and seven staffers based in the city, as well as additional California offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.