Pepper Hamilton Opens Silicon Valley Office

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Pepper Hamilton CEO Scott Green

Pepper Hamilton has opened a Silicon Valley office with the addition of three intellectual property partners from Goodwin Procter, the firm announced Tuesday.

The new office, located in Redwood City, Calif., is the firm's third California office after Los Angeles and Orange County.

Gregory S. Bishop specializes in complex patent litigation and joins as partner in charge of the new Silicon Valley office.

Thomas F. Fitzpatrick joins as co-chair of the firm's IP litigation practice. He will work with existing practice co-chairmen Paul J. Kennedy, a Philadelphia partner, and Goutam Patnaik, a Washington, D.C., partner.

Fitzpatrick focuses his practice on patent, trade secret, trademark and technology licensing litigation.

Andy H. Chan joins as a partner in the IP department and focuses his practice on patent litigation involving complex technology in the biotechnology, chemical and information technology fields.

Pepper Hamilton Chief Executive Officer Scott Green told The Legal on Tuesday that the new office is part of the strategic plan the firm implemented in June 2012.

According to Green, the firm had been servicing clients in the Silicon Valley from its Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., offices but felt the time was right to establish a physical presence in the region.

"We really felt we needed boots on the ground there, particularly because of the docket we have in the upcoming year," Green said.

According to Green, the firm spoke with a number of attorneys in the Silicon Valley about opening the new office and was even prepared to move some of its existing lawyers out to California to get the new location up and running, if necessary.

But once the firm was put in touch with the Goodwin Procter group, it knew it had found the right fit, Green said.

"They all come strongly recommended from our contacts in Northern California," Green said, adding that the type of work Bishop, Fitzpatrick and Chan do, as well as their client base and their personalities, mesh well with the firm as a whole.

Green said the firm decided to name Fitzpatrick its third IP department co-chair in order to have a practice head focused solely on the firm's California operations.

Pepper Hamilton's Silicon Valley office comes about 11 months after Duane Morris opened an IP-focused office in Palo Alto, Calif., with K&L Gates partner Karineh Khachatourian and associate Patrick S. Salceda.

A number of other Am Law 100 firms with Pennsylvania offices have Silicon Valley locations as well, including Reed Smith, Dechert, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig and Jones Day.

Green said competition among law firms in the Silicon Valley is fierce, so Pepper Hamilton was very careful to ensure it had a sufficient foothold in the region to support a new office there.

"There are some firms that get more than their fair share [of work] and some firms that really struggle out there," Green said, adding, "We have a significant amount of business in the pipeline out there so there's no question we're going to keep those guys very busy, both with the clients they bring with them and our clients. We're very confident this office is going to be very successful very early on."

Green said the firm is already planning to move two or three associates to the Silicon Valley office from its other offices.

As for how the office will grow beyond that, Green said that while the location will most likely always focus on IP, he does envision adding corporate and fund attorneys in the region at some point.

Green said the Silicon Valley office is not likely to have much of an effect on the firm's existing Southern California offices since those locations currently only service a handful of Northern California clients.

However, Green said he expects the firm will eventually expand its IP practice to Southern California.

Zack Needles can be contacted at 215-557-2493 or zneedles@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZNeedlesTLI. •

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