Charles Yang left Baker McKenzie’s Dallas office in 2013 to start his own virtual law practice in Sacramento that went on to include partners in Silicon Valley and Missouri with paralegals based in Dallas and Las Vegas.
Yang’s three-lawyer, cloud-based Ntellect Law found a fitting home this month when it merged with FisherBroyles, a pioneering law firm that claims to be the largest in a growing crowd of virtual or cloud-based shops offering access to high-end legal services.
Most new partners at cloud-based firms such as Culhane Meadows, FisherBroyles, Rimon Law and others come directly from Big Law, often drawn to those firms by a compensation system that typically lets lawyers keep 80 percent of the revenue they bring in and handle themselves.
Yang, who represents clients in patent prosecution matters before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board and in patent litigation, said he left Baker McKenzie as an associate because he wanted to provide a more flexible practice for a broader array of clients.
“I recognized back in 2013 that this is where the future was heading,” Yang said. “The best way to grow our practice was we needed to take control of the overhead costs, eliminate it as much as we can and be as flexible as we can in our market. It’s a global market. We [can’t be] tied down to a particular area.”
Yang’s boutique practice took that view to heart with lawyers practicing in multiple states.
The other lawyers joining FisherBroyles from Ntellect are the Bay Area-based John Yang, who previously worked for Baker McKenzie and Greenberg Traurig before heading in-house. Before joining Ntellect last year, Yang served as senior director of intellectual property at SharkNinja Operating LLC, a company that makes television-marketed products like Ninja blenders and Shark vacuum cleaners. And of counsel Andrew Moreton, based in Missouri, was an IP lawyer at Baker McKenzie from 2010 to 2016.
FisherBroyles said in a release that adding the three IP lawyers would further bolster the firm’s patent prosecution practice, which it said now has 34 lawyers. Patent prosecution is an example of the rate-pressured practice areas that virtual firms see as an opportunity to pry work away from larger firms. Ropes & Gray earlier this month spun off its patent prosecution practice into a standalone firm.
“Attorneys, especially intellectual property attorneys, are continuing to realize that our platform provides them a unique opportunity to concentrate on their clients’ needs, without worrying about the inefficient practices of Big Law that waste time and money,” said FisherBroyles co-founder and managing partner James Fisher II.
Kevin Broyles, another co-founder of the firm, said earlier this year that it will crack the Am Law 200 by 2018, thanks to annual gross revenue growth that he claims clocks in at 50 percent. Culhane Meadows, a spin-off from FisherBroyles formed in 2013, said its gross revenue increased 31 percent from 2015 to last year, and 114 percent the year prior. The American Lawyer reported in October that other virtual firms, such as the Potomac Law Group, Rimon Law and the VLP Law Group, have seen their revenue growth hover between 40 to 60 percent a year for the last half-decade.