Heller Suffers Another Blow with Reported Loss of up to 40 IP Lawyers
Posted Sep 16, 2008 6:21 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Heller Ehrman has already endured the loss of more than 30 partners this year and failed merger talks with several big law firms. Now comes word from the Daily Journal that the firm will lose up to 40 lawyers in its intellectual property group, including two key partners.
The news comes just a day after Mayer Brown called off merger talks with Heller, attributing the reason in part to practice and client conflicts. While the Daily Journal (sub. req.) says at least 40 IP lawyers will be leaving the firm, another report in the Recorder put the number of partners leaving at more than 15.
Both publications relied on anonymous sources.
The Daily Journal says the IP lawyers leaving the firm include “intellectual property powerhouse” Robert Haslam and patent litigator Robert Fram. Firm spokesman Patrick Bustamante confirmed “departures from the IP group” in an interview with the Daily Journal and said Haslam and Fram would join Covington & Burling. However he would not say how many lawyers in total are leaving.
One source told the Daily Journal that Haslam and Fram are among about 16 lawyers joining Covington to start a Silicon Valley office.
Lawyers at Heller were informed yesterday that the law firm has decided to end efforts to find a merger partner and "try to go it alone," an anonymous Heller lawyer told the Daily Journal. The publication said some legal observers viewed the decision as a possible "sign of Heller's imminent dissolution."
Updated at 12:12 p.m. to clarify which lawyers are reportedly moving to Covington. Updated on Sept. 18 to clarify that the Recorder story had referred to partners who were leaving.