Jones Day Grabs Tech Transactions Guru – San Diego

July 5, 2016


By, Joshua Sebold

San Diego life sciences and tech transactions guru John E. Wehrli has jumped ship from Latham & Watkins LLP to join Jones Day, following a path that several of his colleagues took previously.

Wehrli has seen the life sciences industry from every angle. He spent a decade as a research chemist and software engineer. He has three issued patents to his name with five more pending.

Wehrli also served as chief legal officer for two public biotech companies. Now he focuses primarily on guiding companies through complex transactions involving intellectual property.

Karen P. Hewitt, managing partner of Jones Day’s San Diego office, said the firm’s global IP chair, Anthony M. Insogna, is based in the office and life sciences is a huge focus there.

“Here in San Diego alone, we have 18 Ph.D.s out of an office of 51 people,” she said.

Hewitt added that Wehrli’s unique combination of skills was particularly appealing.

“He has the scientific background and he also has a business degree and then he has a law degree on top of that,” she said. “It’s a terrific combination to assist companies in strategic planning around licenses and other corporate issues.”

Wehrli said the deep intellectual property bench at Jones Day and the institutional clients there both mesh well with his technology transactions focus. He also mentioned the accumulation of Ph.Ds at the San Diego office.

“In my industry and certainly my practice area it’s important to have that kind of depth,” he said.

Legal recruiter Larry Watanabe, who worked on the move, said it made sense for both sides.

“His experience and representation of biotech, pharma and medical device companies in global strategic transactions is exceptionally rare and highly desired,” Watanabe said. “Jones Day is the fastest growing law firm in San Diego and has drawn star quality lateral talent from its competitors.”

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