Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, the third-largest firm in Portland, Oregon, but with offices along the West Coast, announced Thursday its acquisition of local intellectual property shop Marger Johnson.
All seven lawyers from Marger Johnson will join Miller Nash’s IP practice team on July 1. Miller Nash has been around since 1873, but the firm has currently constructed came to be in 2014, when Seattle-based Graham & Dunn merged with Portland-based Miller Nash, forming a Pacific Northwest legal powerhouse.
“We have a number of clients in all the markets that we work in on the West Coast that have patent needs,” said Miller Nash managing partner Kieran Curley, whose firm has offices in Long Beach, California; Portland; Seattle; and Vancouver. “Marger Johnson group is a very highly respected, well-regarded group of IP lawyers with particular expertise in patent, and it is really responsive to our clients and to the market we operate in.”
Curley said Miller Nash has an IP team that specializes in trademark and copyright issues. The addition of Marger Johnson, however, will allow his roughly 150-lawyer firm to expand its capabilities into patent law, offering a broader range of IP services.
The lawyers joining Miller Nash include Marger Johnson partners Alex Johnson, Julie Reed, Kevin Ross and Justin Wagner, of counsel Alan McCollom and associates Sean O’Brien and Marie Weiskopf. O’Brien, Reed, Ross and Wagner have come aboard as partners, Johnson and McCollum as senior counsel and Weiskopf as counsel.
All have experience working on various aspects of patent law, such as electronic circuits and hardware, technology, engineering, biosciences, software and computer arts.
“We have a number of clients that need general business formation and financial help and employment law help, all of the areas that Miller Nash has,” said Reed, who served as president of 32-year-old Marger Johnson. “We are hearing from our clients that they really wanted consolidated and streamlined professional services by going to a single supplier or a limited number of suppliers.”
Reed said that Marger Johnson and Miller Nash have worked together and referred work to one another for some time. In order to meet their clients’ needs and providing a “one stop for all” legal service delivery model for them, Reed said her team was attracted to the opportunity put forth by Miller Nash because of the firm’s expertise in areas outside of IP.
“This way, we can keep the same attorneys in the same firm and all on the same team for that client,” Reed said.
Marger Johnson and Miller Nash are sorting through the technical aspects of their combination, including various billing issues.
As of now, Miller Nash’s Portland office has a total number of 78 lawyers. Firmwide, it has 12 lawyers, including nine partners, dedicated to its IP practice. According to Miller Nash, recruiting new IP lawyers is part of a long-term growth strategy for the firm.
Law firm mergers have continued at a near record-setting pace through the first quarter of 2018, with the Pacific Northwest being no exception when it comes to acquisitions. In April, Seattle-based Ogden Murphy Wallace hit the 59-lawyer mark after absorbing smaller local firm Short Cressman & Burgess. National labor and employment firm Fisher & Phillips also absorbed Seattle-based boutique Michael & Alexander in January.