Covington & Burling, which opened its Silicon Valley office exactly a decade ago, has found a new home for its attorneys in the Bay Area.
The firm’s team of nearly 40 lawyers and staff has moved into the new office located within Palo Alto Square at the intersection of Page Mill and El Camino.
“We had a strong desire to be in Palo Alto, where we thought we would be more centrally located among clients and companies that we work with and hope to work with,” said Emily Leonard, vice chair of Covington’s life sciences industry group and managing partner of its Silicon Valley office.
Last week, The Recorder’s photo editor Jason Doiy visited the firm’s office space in Palo Alto.
Covington opened its Silicon Valley office on Oct. 1, 2008, with four patent litigators hired from now-defunct Heller Ehrman. As the office continued to grow during the last decade, the team has expanded its practice to include antitrust, commercial litigation, corporate, life sciences, M&A and technology transactions work.
“We have grown by over 50 percent in roughly two years,” Leonard said. “I think the reason for that is that the continued growth and diversification of our practices in California is part of the firm’s overall strategic growth priority.”
Covington currently has about 145 lawyers across its three California offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The firm’s San Francisco office, which opened in 1999, now has more than 70 lawyers.
“We intentionally, strategically, determined that having two offices here was appropriate and necessary just because we want to be close to our clients,” said Tom DeFilipps, who joined Covington as head of its West Coast corporate practice two years ago. Before making that move, DeFilipps worked at Sidley Austin, where he helped open the firm’s Palo Alto office in 2009 and served as its local leader.
Some of Covington’s notable clients include Airbnb Inc., Facebook Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., as well as other leading technology companies. One differentiator that helps set the Washington, D.C.-based firm apart from its Silicon Valley competitors, DeFilipps and Leonard said, is its ability to provide corporate, litigation and regulatory expertise on top of a unique understanding into government policy and key policymakers.
“As we talk to clients in the tech and life sciences area, we do find they increasingly focus on issues that deal with the regulated environment, whether it is in D.C. or overseas,” DeFilipps said. “That is one of the reasons we believe the strength of our firm plays very well with clients in this [region] and their particular needs as they grow rapidly as tech companies.”