Evan Diamond and Gerald Flattmann

In the latest sign that intellectual property litigators continue to be in high demand this year, King & Spalding has picked up a pair of partners from Paul Hastings who represent brand-name pharmaceutical companies in patent cases.

The Atlanta-founded Am Law 100 firm announced Monday that it had hired Gerald Flattmann and Evan Diamond as partners for its trial and disputes practice group in New York. Flattmann, who spent the last eight years at Paul Hastings, arrived at that firm from Kirkland & Ellis in 2010. He will now serve as chairman of the King & Spalding’s life sciences patent litigation practice.

King & Spalding is one of many firms that have continued to hire IP litigators in multiples, suggesting that the practice area, which often represents health care, pharmaceutical and technology companies in court and before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, continues to remain lucrative for the country’s largest firms.

For instance, in the last few months, six former IP litigation partners at White & Case in New York are now on their way to Fenwick & West. Goodwin Procter recently boosted its IP and U.S. International Trade Commission practice with the addition of four partners from Greenberg Traurig in Washington, D.C. A group of seven IP lawyers recently left Vedder Price for Duane Morris in New York and the nation’s capital. And a pair of IP litigators at Vinson & Elkins joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman as partners in San Francisco.

Some firms have made notable lateral hires, including Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s addition of Jared Bobrow, a former co-chairman of the patent litigation practice of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, to co-lead its global IP practice from Silicon Valley, and Katten Muchin Rosenman’s recruitment of Deepro Mukerjee from Alston & Bird in New York.

Jon Truster, a law firm recruiter and co-head of lateral partner placement at New York’s Greene-Levin-Snyder, said he has seen an uptick this year in law firms searching for IP litigators. While demand was much quieter two years ago, he said Am Law 100 firms are now reporting a “strategic need” for IP litigators.

As for the new recruits by King & Spalding, the duo focus their practice on patent litigation, licensing and counseling, particularly in the fields of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. According to court records, Flattmann’s recent clients have included Galderma Laboratories LP, Insys Therapeutics Inc. and Blemel Technologies LLC.

Asked whether his clients will join him at King & Spalding, Flattmann indicated it was too early to be certain, but said that “we hope we can continue to grow the practice.” He added, “We’re going to have substantial business to begin with, but we would like to grow it even further.”

Flattmann said he was attracted to King & Spalding due to its top trial lawyers “across every discipline.” He said that breadth of talent “can help open doors in an increasingly competitive market.” Flattmann also praised his prior firm, Paul Hastings, but he said that at King & Spalding he now has “an opportunity to lead” a life sciences patent litigation practice.

Andrew Bayman, head of litigation at King & Spalding, said Flattmann’s position as chairman of the life sciences patent litigation practice is new and was created to recognize the growth of the group. King & Spalding has more than 50 lawyers in its patent litigation practice, including roughly 10 life science patent litigators advising pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

“The demand has always been there and always will be there and this is an opportunity to try to get people with outstanding trial records and resumes so that we can better service our clients,” Bayman said.

King & Spalding has been busy bringing on new lawyers this year. In June, the firm recruited a three-partner finance team from Reed Smith in Houston and added a seven-lawyer real estate finance group in New York from Riemer & Braunstein.

In May, King & Spalding hired Sally Yates, a former deputy attorney general, in its investigations practice. The firm, which saw gross revenue hit the $1.14 billion mark in 2017, also brought on Thomas “Ted” Keim, a former chairman of the Chicago-based corporate department at Latham & Watkins, for its office in the Windy City.