SAN FRANCISCO — The Palo Alto office of Sheppard Mullin has plucked an intellectual property partner from Foley & Lardner.

Lorna Tanner joined Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton as a partner in the firm's IP group Tuesday. Her practice focuses on patent prosecution in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, with clients ranging from startups to multinational corporations.

With a client roster of diverse Bay Area-based life sciences companies, Tanner said she was looking for a firm with both strong California ties and a global presence, as well as a solid IP practice. Sheppard Mullin fit the bill, she said.

During the interview process, Tanner met with partners from seven offices, she said, but the Silicon Valley location was the one she'd set her sights on.

"I'm a Bay Area girl — I'm not going anywhere," she said.

Tanner practiced at Foley for eight years, but took a brief intermission in 2009 to launch an IP boutique, Swiss Tanner, with Foley partner Gerald Swiss. In 2010, roughly a year after launching that venture, the two returned to Foley.

Tanner said two patent agents, a paralegal and an assistant will join her at Sheppard Mullin. Legal recruiter Larry Watanabe of Watanabe Nason advised Sheppard on the transaction.

"Lorna's patent prosecution practice dovetails well with both our IP practice group and life sciences team," Edward Anderson, co-managing partner of Sheppard Mullin's Palo Alto office, said in a statement.

Tanner is the third partner to come aboard in the firm's Bay Area offices this month. Peter Carson, a former Bingham McCutchen partner, joined the San Francisco office last week as a member of the finance and bankruptcy group, and Stephanie Zeppa decamped from Dentons to become a corporate partner in Sheppard's Palo Alto office. The moves come after a raft of departures from the firm's Silicon Valley office earlier this year.

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