Jason Murata and Daniel Bitton of Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider.

Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider is bringing its antitrust and intellectual property practices to California with its first West Coast outpost, putting down roots in San Francisco.

Antitrust partner Daniel Bitton and IP partner Jason Murata will relocate from New York and Connecticut, respectively, to lead the new Bay Area office.

“After spending 20 years at the firm developing a reputation as an elite antitrust and IP boutique, we felt the time was right to expand our footprint to the West Coast,” said Matthew Becker, Axinn’s managing partner.

Having a physical presence in the region brings the firm closer to several of its foundational clients, including Google, McKesson and Silver Lake Partners, Becker said. It also better positions the firm to serve the region’s broader tech sector. Northern California is “an epicenter in the U.S. for technology and scientific innovation,” he said.

“The Bay Area is really a hub for both tech and life science companies, servicing those types of companies has been our sweet spot, so we felt that it was really important to plant the flag,” Becker added. “And doing so would fit very nicely with our core practices of antitrust and IP, which are in very high demand in the region.”

The firm has founded in 1997 by a trio of former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom lawyers, and now has more than 80 lawyers spread across offices in Hartford, New York and Washington, D.C. According to Becker, over the past 10 years, the firm has handled over 250 IP and antitrust-related litigation matters.

“We think one of the main reasons we continue to win and get good results for our clients is based on our track record of persuasively explaining very technical and complicated issues to judges and juries, and we can capitalize on that expertise in the Bay Area,” said Becker.

The firm’s rates are likely to be comparable to other specialized litigation firms and larger firms in the area, he said. However, the firm also is open to alternative fee structures.

For now, Bitton and Murata are the only two partners relocating to the San Francisco office. However, the firm is planning on “aggressively” growing the team by hiring new talent in the Bay Area.

“Part of my plan for the office, our plan as a firm, and also part of the reason to move out to California, is not just the litigation out there, the cartel work, the clients, but it is also tapping into a talent pool in a more effective way,” said Bitton, who has been with the firm for nearly 14 years.

The firm is looking to hire lawyers from top law schools in California and those who are experienced in the technology and startup environment, as well as seasoned antitrust lawyers, Bitton said.