Pillsbury Hires IP Partner (Palo Alto)

August 23, 1999


By Jennifer Byrd

SAN FRANCISCO – Pillsbury Madison & Sutro has hired two new partners, one in Palo Alto and one in Orange County.

Intellectual property litigation partner William F. Abrams will join Pillsbury’s patent litigation department in Palo Alto. He will leave San Francisco’s Rogers Joseph O’Donnell & Quinn, where he was chairman of the intellectual property group.

“For the kind of intellectual property work I do, it’s important to work for a firm that has resources and a national platform,” said Abrams, 44. “Rogers doesn’t have that. I had a very positive experience [there], but I needed a different platform.”

Abrams focuses on patent and trade secret work, and his book of business, he said, is in the seven figures. His addition to Pillsbury’s patent litigation section brings the group to nine lawyers.

“I’ve always respected Pillsbury, and the spirit at the firm struck me,” said Abrams, who will begin his new position after Labor Day. “They are definitely on an upward trajectory.”

According to Pillsbury chair Mary Cranston, Abrams’ addition is part of the firm’s strategic plan to beef up its intellectual property and emerging company areas. “Bill fit the profile,” Cranston said. “He’s an experienced intellectual property litigator with an outstanding track record.”

In other Pillsbury news, Christopher A. Wilson joined the corporate securities group in Costa Mesa in July. He had been a founding partner at Jeffers Wilson Shaff & Falk, a corporate securities boutique in Irvine.

He practices corporate and securities law with a focus on private and public securities offerings and mergers and acquisitions.

The firm’s additions come at a time when it has been plagued by departures, including the exodus of a six-attorney employee benefits group to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe this past spring.

“While [Pillsbury Madison & Sutro] has been losing a lot of lawyers, the firm has a strong platform nationally,” said legal recruiter Larry Watanabe of Watanabe & Nason. “[Lawyers] see people leaving and perceive the firm as weak. It has a strong core and needs to remain competitive on an economic level. That goes for any firm.”

Irell & Manella Hires IP Partners (Orange County)
Manatt Phelps Acquires IP Boutique (Palo Alto)

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