Julia Love writes for The Recorder, an American Lawyer sibling publication.
Douglas Lumish and his team of IP litigators finally arrived at Latham & Watkins on Thursday. Lumish, fellow Silicon Valley partners Gabriel Gross and Jeffrey Homrig and New York partner Michael Eisenberg gave notice to Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman in early February. But as they were the only partners in the firm’s two-year-old Valley office, Kasowitz — which has a 90-day notice period in its partnership agreement — decided it needed to take that time to rebuild, partner Aaron Marks explained to Litigation Daily affiliate The Recorder in April.
Although the union between Lumish and Latham took time to materialize, both sides say it will be worth the wait. IP litigation is a space in which Latham has been determined to grow. The firm has added 15 partners in the practice over the past three years, including a six-partner group from the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 2011. That team will eventually be succeeded by the partners from Kasowitz, who are in their 30s and 40s, said Maximilian Grant, global co-chair of Latham’s IP litigation practice. "We’re building a team that’s going to be good for a few generations," he said. Although Lumish will have to leave a few clients behind due to conflicts, he is taking about 10 matters with him, including TransPerfect v. MotionPoint and Achates v. Apple. Grant said he expects the team to bring about a half-dozen associates, between Kasowitz’s Silicon Valley and New York offices.
For Lumish, who began his career at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Latham offers another deep bench of patent litigators. The Recorder caught up with Lumish to ask him about why he decided to leave the Valley office he helped build and what he hopes to accomplish at Latham.
Q: Why did you and your team want to join Latham?
A: For us, we’re looking 20 to 25 years down the line. How do we build the best patent litigation practice in the country as quickly as possible? Where can we get critical mass in one practice group? Latham enabled us to do that better than any other firm I’ve seen, given where the firm is today and where I think we’re going to be able to go in the next year or two. I believe that with the strength of the resources here and the quality of the people, we’ll be able to build the best patent litigation group in the world very quickly.
Q: What does Latham offer you that Kasowitz didn’t?
A: It’s not really something I don’t think I had at Kasowitz. I wouldn’t frame it that way. What I think Latham offers us is critical mass of really exceptional lawyers. If you look around the Valley, except for maybe [Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan], I can’t think of a larger group of exceptional patent litigators who are ready to go to trial.
Q: What was the experience of launching an office like?
A: It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of administrative work and things like that, a lot of missionary selling to get the name out and create a brand in Silicon Valley, where there hadn’t been an office before.
Q: How do you feel about what you built at Kasowitz?
I’m very proud of it. I think we built a great group with great clients. We had some amazing wins and amazing success in the 2 1/2 years we were there.
Q: Would you have liked to join Latham sooner?
A: The contractual constraints that I had [at Kasowitz] are ones that I was fine with. I’m happy to be here now."