“IP Super Boutique”

Houston-based Novak Druce + Quigg has entered into “exclusive merger discussions” with Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz of Wilmington, Del., the two intellectual property law firms announced on Sept. 19. Pending final discussions, certain closing conditions and partnership votes, the firms will merge on Jan. 1, 2013. The firm will be known as Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg, and it will be headquartered in Houston and will continue to be the largest intellectual property firm based in Texas, according to a press release. In addition to Houston and Wilmington, the merged firm will have offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach, Fla. Jeffrey B. Bove, managing partner of Connolly Bove, refers questions to Gregory V. Novak, the D.C.-based managing partner of Novak Druce. Novak says merger talks began in late 2011. “We’ve been aware of Connolly Bove, and they’ve been aware of us . . .,” Novak says. “We share some clients, and large aspects of client portfolios would move between the firms, which is kind of odd, but we always had great relationships.” Novak says the merger makes sense because the firms have offices in different markets and each firm’s clients are concentrated in different industries. “They are heavy in chemicals, pharmaceuticals and life sciences; we are heavy in high tech . . . 
smartphones and the like,” Novak says. In a statement, Novak writes that the pending combination with Connolly Bove puts Novak Druce “well on the road of emerging as an IP super boutique.” Bove writes that clients of both firms will benefit from the combination, and the merger “fits perfectly with our long-term strategic goals.” Novak will serve as managing partner following the merger, and Bove will be senior partner, according to the release. Novak Druce has 70 attorneys, and Connolly Bove has 60.

Wainwright Moving On

Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright announced on Sept. 19 that he will resign from the court effective Sept. 30 to join Bracewell & Giuliani’s Austin office. Wainwright was first elected to the court in 2002 and is currently its third most senior member. Wainwright says it was just time to leave the court. “I’m fortunate in that I’m in a position where I get to decide what do I want to do with my life,” Wainwright says. “I love working on the court. It’s a fantastic job with the best civil legal work there is. And I work with fantastic colleagues, and the staff is great. I’ve accomplished a number of goals that I set out for myself nearly 10 years ago. And now it’s time to go back to private practice, which I also greatly enjoyed,” he says. Before joining the high court, Wainwright served almost four years as a Harris County district court judge. He came to the bench after private practice with Haynes and Boone and Andrews Kurth in Houston. Wainwright’s term expires at the end of 2014. Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson says, “It’s a huge loss. Dale has been rock solid on the court not only on the substantive work that we do but importantly on our obligation to justice,” and he notes that Wainwright previously served as the court’s liaison to the State Bar of Texas, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Texas Board of Law Examiners. “And just on a human scale, he will be dearly missed,” says Jefferson. With Wainwright’s resignation, Justice David Medina will become the court’s third most senior member. When Medina leaves the court at the end of this year, Justice Paul Green will take Medina’s chair on the court as its third most senior member. “Justice Wainwright has been very valuable to the court, and I’ve enjoyed sitting next to him at the conference table and on the bench,” Green says. “He’s done so well for the institution of the court and served the citizens of the state very well, and it’s a great loss to the court.” Warren Harris, a Bracewell partner who heads the firm’s appellate section, says Wainwright was hired after two weeks of discussions. “We’re very excited about having Judge Wainwright come on board. He’s a great person many of us have known for a long time,” Harris says. “He’s going to be a wonderful addition to the practice and give us additional depth in the Texas Supreme Court and courts across the state.”