“Woodcock likely had a number of options of firms to merger with…”

Firm adds former Foley & Lardner partner, third recent lateral in LA IP group
By Alexandra Schwappach
Daily Journal Staff Writer

Seven months after merging with an East Coast intellectual property boutique, the national firm Baker & Hostetler LLP continues to staff up the practice and expand its Southern California offices.

The firm this week added trademark and copyright partner Miriam C. Beezy, formerly with Foley & Lardner LLP for 10 years, to the IP group in Los Angeles – the third lateral into the group this summer. In all, Baker has added roughly 14 attorneys to its L.A. and Orange County locations so far this year, bringing its total headcount in Southern California to about 40.

John H. Weber, national chair of Baker’s IP practice in Washington, D.C., said the firm’s merger with Philadelphia-based IP boutique Woodcock Washburn, which doubled its national IP practice, is helping put Baker’s capabilities on the map.

“I think the merger, our culture, and the fact that we are fiscally sound is resonating well with the laterals around the country,” he said.

The Woodcock merger added about 68 attorneys, as well as three new offices in Seattle, Atlanta and Philadelphia. Since the combination, Cleveland-based Baker has continued to hire for the practice. In February, a group of three IP partners joined the firm’s Chicago office, followed by the addition of Alan L. Friel and Jesse M. Brody in Los Angeles and Randal L. Gainer in Seattle.

Baker now has roughly 20 IP attorneys on the West Coast: 10 in Seattle and five each in Los Angeles and Costa Mesa. Weber expects that number to keep growing.

“The West Coast is a big focus for us,” he said. “I think we’re building a nice base out there.”

Legal observers say the merger boded well for Baker.

“Woodcock likely had a number of options of firms to merger with,” said L.A.-based legal recruiter Sandy Lechtick, whose firm has placed about nine partners at Baker over the past decade. “The mere fact that they chose Baker adds wind to the firm’s sails, especially in IP.”

Baker also enjoyed a boost from its work in the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Securities Investments LLC. The lawyers on the case, trustee Irving H. Picard, a bankruptcy partner, and David J. Sheehan, a litigation partner, have recovered or entered into agreements to recover more than $9.8 billion and have distributed more than $4.9 billion to customers with allowed claims, according to the firm’s website.

Legal observers said that Baker’s success in the Madoff fraud case has opened doors for the firm and has likely attracted more interest from laterals.

Beezy, the new IP partner in L.A., has international experience in procurement, prosecution, transactions, enforcement, and disputes with a client list that includes the bands The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, and Ozomatli. She said both the recent merger and the number of other lateral additions attracted her to Baker.

“The energy level and momentum here is so exciting,” she said. “Baker’s strength in IP has increased exponentially within the past year.”

John F. Cermak Jr., managing partner of Baker’s L.A. office, said the recent hires also underscore the firm’s growth in Southern California. Earlier this month it added data privacy experts Tanya L. Forsheit as partner and Scott Koller as counsel from InfoLawGroup in Los Angeles.

“The L.A. office is growing much faster than we anticipated,” Cermak said. “We will continue to grow as long as we keep finding good laterals.” Cermak said he hopes to have between 60 and 70 attorneys in Southern California in the next couple years.

alexandra_schwappach@dailyjournal.com

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