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For the second time in a decade, Irell & Manella is at a turning point. Defections have chipped away millions in revenue, and rainmaker Morgan Chu is once again shouldering the weight of the Los Angeles-based intellectual property boutique.

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It’s a story the firm has told before. In the mid-2010s, Irell strove to rebuild its transactional practice, bringing on high-profile attorneys including Joshua Grode and Steven Marenberg. In response to questions in 2016 about the firm’s apparent overreliance on Chu, executive committee member David Siegel pointed to David Gindler, who led the firm’s life sciences litigation practice, and Craig Varnen, who is vice chair of the firm’s litigation group. Grode, Marenberg, Gindler and Siegel are no longer with the firm.

They are among dozens of Irell lawyers who have sought greener pastures in recent years. In 2014, the firm boasted $247.5 million in gross revenue and a complement of 159 attorneys. Last year, those numbers had fallen 39% and 48%, respectively, to just $151.6 million in revenue and 82 attorneys.

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