Sheppard Mullin snagged another two lateral partners Monday, bringing their total up to six for the year.
David Randall, an IP partner who does both patent litigation and prosecution, joined the Los Angeles office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton from Dickstein Shapiro. Robert Guite, a litigation partner whose practice ranges from class actions and products liability to unfair competition and ERISA suits, comes to Sheppard Mullin’s San Francisco office from Squire Sanders. Both Randall and Guite said they will bring all their clients with them.
Randall is the third lateral IP partner to join Sheppard Mullin in California this year, and he fits squarely with the goals for the practice, said Stephen Korniczky, who co-chairs the practice. The group has grown from about 60 attorneys in 2010 to more than 95 today, but the litigation side of the practice has centered on defending companies that are accused of patent infringement. Randall’s arrival will strengthen plaintiffs-side work, Korniczky said.
Randall’s expertise in both patent prosecution and litigation is unusual, Korniczky said, as most IP attorneys tend to specialize in one or the other. The breadth of experience serves Randall well, Korniczky added.
"The two skills sets are very complementary," he said. "If you know how to defend patents in litigation, you know how to write them so that they will withstand litigation."
Revenue from Sheppard Mullin’s IP practice shot up more than 70 percent in 2011 and more than 22 percent in 2012, Korniczky said. With the bulk of the practice’s growth coming on the West Coast so far, Sheppard Mullin now hopes to add IP lawyers in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., he added.
To fuel future growth, Korniczky has set his sights on one pool of lawyers in particular. Earlier in their careers, Korniczky and Randall both worked at Los Angeles-based Lyon & Lyon, a now-defunct law firm that specialized in IP. The firm’s lawyers have dispersed since its dissolution, and Korniczky wants to harness that talent once more. He said he is in daily conversation with former Lyon & Lyon lawyers about joining Sheppard Mullin.
Randall said his shared roots with Korniczky and several other Lyon & Lyon lawyers who are now at Sheppard Mullin influenced his decision.
"The fact that they have put together a strong team of people I know, that was an important factor," he said.
Randall added that Sheppard Mullin’s outposts in Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul were also a draw. Randall, who prosecutes patents globally, did not have any Asian offices to draw from while at Dickstein Shapiro.
"Dickstein clearly has significant clients in Asia, but I believe that having offices there will be very beneficial," he said.
Guite said he was attracted to Sheppard Mullin by its bench strength in California. With strong offerings in unfair competition, IP, ERISA and general commercial litigation, the firm also seemed like a good fit for his mix of practices, he added. Guite’s clients include Starbucks Corp., Sun Life Financial Inc. and Cascade Yarns.
"It resonated to me as a place where I could serve clients well," said Guite, who served as Squire Sanders’ hiring partner in Northern California. Fred Puglisi, co-chair of Sheppard Mullin’s business trial practice group, said Guite brings a depth of experience with ERISA litigation that the group did not have before.
"We have a lot of clients where that is an issue, and this gives us an ability to service those clients," Puglisi said.
The business trial practice group is not done growing either, Puglisi said. He said he has interviewed eight prospective lateral partners in the past two weeks.
A Squire Sanders spokesman declined to comment on Guite’s departure, other than to wish him well. Representatives for Dickstein Shapiro did not immediately respond to requests for comment.