Bringing on five intellectual property lawyers from a Fort Lauderdale and Silicon Valley-based boutique, Dickinson Wright has spurred on an already-lively hiring market for IP lawyers among Am Law 200 firms.
Michigan-based Dickinson Wright announced that it would effectively absorb the small firm, Mayback & Hoffman, as it hired the boutique’s two name partners — Catherine Hoffman and Gregory Mayback— and three other lawyers in Florida and Silicon Valley.
Hoffman and Mayback join Dickinson Wright as members based in Fort Lauderdale, where their colleagues James Stepan and Julie Dahlgard will serve in of counsel roles. The fifth former Mayback & Hoffman lawyer, Rebecca Tie, joins Dickinson Wright’s Silicon Valley office as of counsel.
“Catherine Hoffman and Greg Mayback along with their team bring preeminent qualifications to Dickinson Wright, immediately strengthening our intellectual property practice,” Philip Rettig, the division director for IP at Dickinson Wright, said on Thursday.
The new lawyers come to Dickinson Wright amid what has been an active stretch of large law firms bulking up their IP practices. For its part, the Michigan-based firm — which is expected to undergo a leadership change early next year that could lead to continued lateral recruiting — had already hired five IP lawyers since June. Those hires are in addition to the five brought on board with the just-announced acquisition of Mayback & Hoffman.
And all of these hires came on top of the firm’s move in April to open a Silicon Valley office with a six-person team formerly of Downey Brand. That team, led by member Michael Ferrazano, included four lawyers and two senior patent agents.
Rettig said Dickinson Wright has nearly doubled its IP department since 2015, bringing 38 lawyers and patent agents on board. The expansion, he said, stems from a desire to serve clients with a growing need for IP protection.
“We feel with emerging technology and an ever-increasing entrepreneurial climate, where it’s never been more important to protect our clients’ intellectual property and trade secrets, that bringing in lawyers with expertise in copyrights, trademarks, patents and litigation will help to broaden our offerings to more effectively serve our clients across the U.S. and in Canada,” he said.
A similar pattern of hiring in IP has also taken hold at other Am Law 200 firms. Cozen O’Connor, for instance, announced earlier this week that it had added Vadim Braginsky, a former electrical engineer, as an IP-focused counsel in the firm’s Minneapolis office.
That hire, though, was only one of seven recent additions that Cozen has made to its IP practice in the past four months. Starting in July, the firm has added franchise law expert Susan Grueneberg in Los Angeles; Frank Abramonte, Lorraine Linford and Jeremy Dukmen in Seattle; IP trial lawyer Thomas Fisher in Washington, D.C.; and patent prosecutor Carl Wischhusen in New York. All of those lawyers joined Cozen as members of the IP practice, the firm’s equivalent of a partner.
Cozen’s Camille Miller, co-chair of the firm’s IP department, said on Thursday that intellectual property needs are common among all businesses and as such “it is always a good time to add IP.” She added that Cozen has recently brought on lawyers from boutiques who bring with them strong client relationships. Those relationships, said Miller, are a boon to the firm, but the incoming lawyers can also strengthen those ties by joining forces with a larger team.
“We are benefiting from the recent wave of IP lawyers in smaller boutiques with deep client relationships looking to move to established nationally branded firms like Cozen O’Connor, where all their clients’ legal needs can be handled under one roof,” she said. “The move to a large full-service firm strengthens the IP lawyer’s relationship with the client, gives the client access to large firm resources and contacts, and introduces new clients to the firm. It has been a total win for us.”