Intellectual property firm Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley has split in two because of client conflicts. McClure, Qualey & Rodack spun off from the parent firm on Oct. 1 and Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley renamed itself Thomas Horstemeyer, after the two founders.

George Thomas, who started the firm 16 years ago with Scott Horstemeyer, said the split was amicable and that he was sorry to lose his former partners. “We’ve been together for 16 years. Our families remain good friends,” he said. “It was a happy split.”

Daniel McClure said the split was sparked by potential conflicts between several clients. “As those clients grew larger, their areas started to overlap,” he said. “We had to respond to that.”

That prompted McClure to start the new firm with Paul Qualey, David Rodack and three other lawyers. James Kayden joined that firm as of counsel.

“We’ve all practiced together for a number of years and will remain good friends,” he added.

McClure declined to name the clients but said they were in the telecom as well as wireless and Ethernet networking areas.

The six lawyers who started McClure, Qualey & Rodack have not gone far. They are subleasing space from Thomas Horstemeyer at 400 Interstate North Parkway near the junction of I-75 and I-285.

McClure said his new firm is handling all areas of intellectual property work except litigation. That includes patent prosecutions, trademark and opinion work, and client counseling.

N. Andrew Crane, the managing partner of Thomas Horstemeyer, which now has 28 lawyers, said his firm had hoped to avoid the split, but “we recognize that these things happen and have sought to make the best of it.”

“We’ve done all we can to help them start up a law firm in a very short period of time,” he said.

Crane said Thomas Horstemeyer, which handles both patent litigation and prosecution, is having a good year, estimating that the firm has added 10 lawyers and staff in the last 12 months.

The firm has leased an additional floor of space for a total of two floors since moving to new digs at 400 Interstate North from the Galleria a little more than a year ago.

Crane said the firm has been busy enough that it’s looking to add some associates.

He attributed the uptick in demand to additional work from a longtime online retailing client, which he declined to name, as well as work from new clients.

He said he’s seeing the most activity around patents in the high-tech field, including communications, computer software and hardware and electrical.

Presten joins Arnall Golden

Corporate lawyer Duane C. “Chip” Presten III left Schiff Hardin to become a partner at Arnall Golden Gregory at the end of September.

“We’re happy to get Chip,” said Arnall Golden’s managing partner Glenn Hendrix. “We’re impressed with him individually and, from a practice area standpoint, we’re still bullish on corporate law and transactions in this market.

“It’s a space that some of the other, larger firms are de-emphasizing post-recession, but corporate work is a great engine to build a law firm around,” said Hendrix.

Presten, 49, represents private equity funds in the Southeast and New York as well as energy and manufacturing clients, which he declined to name.

He said he’s seeing activity in middle-market mergers and acquisitions as new investment funds form and existing funds get back into doing deals.

Presten said the financing is available now for “good-quality credit” so middle-market deals can get financed. “There are a lot of funds concentrating on making investments. This is probably a good time for them to do that,” Presten said. “There are some real value opportunities here and the economy has improved enough that sellers are able to achieve closings.”

Presten joined Schiff Hardin in 2011 from Troutman Sanders, where he had practiced since 1997. At Troutman, Presten worked on several large deals, including the 2006 acquisition of BellSouth by AT&T, valued at $67 billion, and M&F Worldwide Corp.’s 2007 acquisition of John H. Harland Co., valued at $1.7 billion.

He said one private equity fund he worked on forming is Atlanta Equity, which is led by former Georgia-Pacific head Pete Correll; Gerald Benjamin, formerly of Navigant Capital Advisors; and David Crosland, a founder of Arcapita Inc.

Presten said he joined Arnall Golden because it has “one of the best corporate practices in Atlanta. Their corporate practice seems to be thriving, even in these tough economic times.”

Briefly

Pamela Roper has been promoted to general counsel and corporate secretary of Cousins Properties, from associate general counsel and senior vice president. She succeeds Robert Jackson. Roper joined Cousins as associate general counsel in 2003 from Sutherland, where she was an associate.

Amy Williams has rejoined Cousins as associate general counsel and vice president from Sheley & Hall, a real estate law boutique, where she was of counsel. Williams was counsel at Cousins for four years before joining Sheley & Hall in 2009.


Littler Mendelson has expanded its immigration practice, hiring three lawyers and 11 paralegals for its Atlanta office. Scott Decker, Avani Patel and Carol Williams joined Littler as counsel. Decker was previously at Banta Immigration Law, Patel was with The Chugh Firm and Williams has worked for U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

“International and U.S.-based companies are facing a myriad of aggressive new immigration enforcement laws and regulations,” said Ian Macdonald, the co-chair of Littler’s Global Mobility and Immigration practice, in a statement. The firm’s local managing shareholder, Traywick Duffie, added that Atlanta is one of Littler’s “key hubs for international work.”


Georgia Schley Ritchie has joined Barnes & Thornburg as of counsel, focusing on business litigation and insurance coverage advice and litigation on behalf of policyholders. Schley Ritchie was previously general counsel for Workout Partners, a real estate firm. She is on the board of trustees for The Georgia Trust and the board of directors for the Message to the Future Foundation and has served as chair of the Atlanta History Center’s Swan House Ball.


Intellectual property firm Cantor Colburn has added Tina Dreaden Kasson to its Atlanta office as a technical advisor for chemistry, pharmaceutical and biotechnology patents. Kasson will receive her Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry in December from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is also working on a law degree at Georgia State University.


Ruth Young has rejoined the Savannah firm HunterMaclean as of counsel after more than 20 years working as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. Young, who worked at HunterMaclean from 1984 to 1989, joins the firm’s health care practice.


Shayne O’Reilly of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has been elected chair of the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s Diversity in Intellectual Property Law Committee. O’Reilly has also been appointed a trustee for the American Intellectual Property Law Education Foundation.


Lynnette Espy-Williams, an associate at Cozen O’Connor, has been chosen as a member of Outstanding Atlanta’s 2012 class. Espy-Williams is one of 10 people recognized as young Atlanta leaders by the group. She is president-elect of the Gate City Bar Association and chaired its annual Hall of Fame Gala, which this year awarded a record $20,000 in law school scholarships. Espy-Williams also volunteers for the Perkerson Elementary School reading program and the Justice Benham Law Camp.

.