Orrick (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has added the former co-chairman of Morrison & Foerster’s life sciences group, Stephen Thau, to its Washington, D.C., office.

Thau, who was a corporate partner in MoFo’s Palo Alto office, is joining Orrick as a partner in its tech and life sciences companies team in the nation’s capital.

Over the course of his career, Thau has worked with investors and companies in the life sciences and other sectors in numerous venture capital and debt financing transactions, as well as public offerings and dozens of public and private M&A transactions and agreements.

Stephen Thau Stephen Thau

Thau began his legal career at MoFo over two decades ago, but in 1998 went on to join Silicon Valley-based technology law firm Venture Law Group.

Though it officially merged with now-defunct San Francisco-based Heller Ehrman in 2003, Thau belonged to the firm’s emerging-growth company practice which still went by the name Venture Law Group in Menlo Park. Thau then rejoined MoFo as co-chairman of its life sciences group in early 2008 in Palo Alto, ahead of Heller Ehrman’s dissolution later that year.

In his move to Orrick, Thau is rejoining several of his former Venture Law colleagues, including firm chairman Mitch Zuklie and technology and life sciences sector leader Don Keller, who both made the move to Orrick in 2005.

Having many of his former colleagues at the firm “was certainly an important factor in leading me to choose Orrick, but it was one of several,” Thau said.

“The use of technology and the way the firm thinks about using technology to help provide better client service is terrific,” Thau said of Orrick, which surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2018.

“The strength of the firm in the emerging companies space is really great, and the opportunities to expand that into the life sciences area, which is where I’ve been focused for a long time, I think is really interesting,” he added.

In his move to Orrick, Thau said he plans on continuing to work with emerging companies and helping those companies grow and mature and engage in exciting transactions.

“Many of us know Stephen well from our time together at Venture Law Group, and he is exactly the kind of high quality corporate lawyer we want on our team,” Keller said in a statement.

Recruiting Thau was a part of Orrick’s strategy to expand its technology and life sciences practices, which began in earnest with the opening of an office in Boston at the beginning of the year.

Orrick launched the Boston office with several key hires from Ropes & Gray, including the co-heads of its cybersecurity and data practice, Doug Meal and Heather Egan Sussman. The firm added four intellectual property litigation partners from Fish & Richardson and one in New York a month later.

“Expanding our life sciences platform is a critical part of our tech and life sciences sector strategy,” Keller added.

In Washington, D.C., Thau joins Geoff Willard, who joined Orrick’s technology companies group from Cooley last June.