Allen & Overy, continuing its growth trajectory in the U.S., is hiring five partners from Goodwin Procter for its U.S. intellectual property litigation practice, a move that will give the firm a Boston office.
The team is led by New York-based patent litigator Elizabeth Holland, who will become the head of the firm’s U.S. life sciences practice. She will be joined by former Goodwin partners Bill James in Washington, D.C.; John Bennett and Nick Mitrokostas in Boston; and Daniel Margolis in New York.
Holland said in an interview that she wasn’t looking to leave Goodwin, where she worked for the last seven and a half years, but she had been thinking about how she could grow her practice further.
“When I got the call about this opportunity, it was really something different. It was not a chance to be the third or fourth patent litigation partner, but instead, I would have the ability to build a practice with partners I’d worked with for years,” she said.
For Allen & Overy, the hires allow the firm to expand upon the firm’s recent move into Silicon Valley and San Francisco in August with an eight-partner team from White & Case. U.S. managing partner Tim House sees parallels between the two developments.
“There will be a moment where technology and life sciences come together,” he said.
While House avoided mentioning names, he noted that Holland’s team—which represents innovators litigating against generics as well as other innovators—has relationships with a number of Allen & Overy clients. Consequently, the hires will help the firm extend these ties.
“Although [companies] will litigate in protection of their patents in local courts, it’s a global product and the patent production strategy is addressed globally by the clients,” House said, highlighting the firm’s existing strengths in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the U.K. and its aspirations in Asia. “Elizabeth can go to a head of IP, and not only say she can coordinate IP activity, but she can show them 20 partners around the world.”
As with other recent group hires, like a six-partner renewable energy group that joined the firm last summer and gave the firm a Los Angeles presence, House emphasized the decision-making was motivated by sector rather than geography.
He sees the Boston office, which will initially be home to Bennett and Mitrokostas, as an opportunity to add complementary work.
“If you’ve got a presence now in a market which is a center of excellence for life sciences sector, it makes sense to look for transactional support, either on the M&A or private equity side,” House said.
The firm is also looking to add a significant number of associates to support the new team, although Holland and House declined to comment on whether they would be coming from Goodwin.
Holland shared her own enthusiasm for the firm’s modified lockstep compensation model and said she hoped it would prove an advantage in recruiting.
“It is something that is very attractive to people who are used to the big firm model of everybody out to get as much revenue in their own bucket as possible to increase what they’re getting from the firm. Here, with the modified lockstep, everybody knows they will get compensated from any kind of contribution that they have,” she said. “It’s attractive to our team, and I think it will be attractive to associates as well.”
A Goodwin representative didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on the departures.