450 Golden Gate, San Francisco, United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Civil litigator Thomas Hixson has been selected for a San Francisco magistrate Judge position, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California announced Monday afternoon. Hixson will fill the seat currently occupied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James, who is set to retire in September.

According to Monday’s statement, the court selected Hixson due to his ”broad knowledge of federal law and practice, together with his strong foundation in intellectual property and antitrust law.” Hixson was not immediately available for comment. His selection is contingent on completing an FBI background check.

Hixson, who is currently a partner in intellectual property at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, has worked in the Bay Area for nearly 20 years. Before joining Morgan Lewis in 2014, he spent 12 years with its predecessor, Bingham McCutchen, and four with Bingham’s predecessor, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen.

Over the course of his legal career, Hixson has represented Oracle, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and a number of telecommunications and insurance companies. At Morgan Lewis, Hixson’s disputes focus on computer software-related IP cases in federal court.

Hixson has also done pro bono work, representing nonprofit groups in a suit against the California Public Utilities Commission for allegedly using deceptive sales tactics. From 2013 to 2014, he served on the board of directors of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.

Outside of Hixson’s practice, he has served as the chair of the California State Bar Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section and written annual updates for a section of Matthew Bender’s “California State Antitrust & Unfair Competition Law” on the Consumers Legal Remedies Act.

The news of Hixson’s selection comes less than two weeks after Fenwick & West partner and IP litigator Virginia DeMarchi was chosen to fill U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd’s seat in San Jose. Lloyd plans to retire in June 2018.