Less than a month after Fenwick & West bolstered its New York office with six intellectual property litigators from White & Case, the Silicon Valley-based firm has made another lateral addition to its sole East Coast outpost, one set to move into new space later this year in the city’s technology-friendly Flatiron District.
After spending more than 11 years at New York-based boutique Davis & Gilbert, Vejay Lalla officially joined Fenwick & West’s technology transactions practice as a partner on Monday.
The technology transactions practice is part of the firm’s intellectual property group, where Lalla will advise clients on their commercial transactional and IP needs, including content distribution and licensing arrangements, both in traditional media and digital distribution through social platforms and mobile applications.
“I become more of more a technology lawyer than simply an advertising lawyer,” said Lalla, who has moved to focus his practice on technology, IP and digital media transactions.
“As advertising has become a much larger digital-focused platform and as entertainment has also been disrupted by technology, my practice also evolved,” he explained, adding that during his nearly dozen years at Davis & Gilbert the work he did grew “to be much more technology-focused on startup and venture capital types of companies that are media, entertainment and consumer-focused.”
Lalla likened Fenwick & West, a firm known for letting its lawyers work in various far-flung locales, to Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees as a result of its prominence in the startup and venture capital sector. As the technology industry has gradually expanded in New York, Lalla found Fenwick & West’s office in the city to be an “ideal match” for his evolving practice.
“New York has always been a hub for content, entertainment, fashion and commerce,” Lalla said. “As those businesses become more tech-focused [and] tech-enabled, a natural flow from that is venture capital funding. That’s the type of work that Fenwick [specializes in].“
With Lalla’s addition, Fenwick & West now has 37 lawyers in New York. The firm announced in April that it had signed a 10-year lease at 902 Broadway, and it plans to finish moving into that Flatiron District space in September in order to be closer to its technology clients.
Fenwick & West saw its gross revenue soar last year, to $374.9 million, a record high for the 321-lawyer firm, which said it currently has more than 25 lawyers firmwide devoted full-time to counseling, drafting and negotiating technology transactions and acting as “outsourced general counsel” for technology companies.
“Vejay’s extensive experience and entrepreneurial spirit make him a great addition to our firm,” said Fenwick & West’s IP chair Rajiv Patel in a statement announcing his hire. “He will expand our presence in the digital media and consumer technology space, while also providing additional technology transactions depth in our growing New York office.”
Prior to joining Davis & Gilbert in 2007, Lalla served as director of business and legal affairs for entertainment and broadcast company Lifetime Entertainment Services. Before that, he worked as an associate at a pair of New York-based IP boutiques, Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu and Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman.
“On the Fenwick side, a lot of their technology clients are also trying to connect to consumers in a certain way in terms of marketing, digital and online,” said Lalla, who has counseled clients in the marketing and communications, media technology and consumer products industries. “As technology companies grow, content and commerce are becoming the key drivers of their businesses.”
Lalla joins Fenwick & West a little more than two months after Lawrence Granatelli, a transactional-focused chair of the firm’s IP practice and a former member of its executive committee, retired from the partnership. Granatelli was based out of Fenwick & West’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, where former IP of counsel Christine Redfield recently left the firm to start her own shop in nearby Redwood City.