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IP Boutique Darby & Darby Is Shutting Its Doors

Posted Mar 12, 2010 11:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Intellectual property boutique Darby & Darby is closing.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce that after more than 100 years in continuous operation, Darby & Darby will begin the process of winding down the firm in anticipation of an orderly dissolution,” the law firm said in a statement provided to the ABA Journal. “While we continue to have exceptional clients, from individual inventors to Fortune Global 500 Companies, and remain profitable, many of the factors frequently cited in other firms’ demise have similarly impacted us.”

Above the Law was first with the announcement.

Tipsters told Above the Law that Darby & Darby had been in merger talks with K&L Gates that ended without success earlier this week. But Mike Rick, media and PR manager for K&L Gates, told the ABA Journal in an e-mail that reports of merger talks are false.

Rick did not immediately reply to a follow-up question about whether K&L Gates was planning to hire any Darby lawyers.

Beth Silberstein, Darby's director of professional recruiting, development & marketing, did not comment on the reports of merger talks with K&L Gates. "Due to nondisclosure agreements we cannot discuss the firms we spoke to," she said in an e-mail.

Last year some media reports questioned whether intellectual property boutiques are an endangered species.

Morgan & Finnegan dissolved a little more than one year ago. At its peak, the firm had more than 100 lawyers.

Another intellectual property boutique, Day Casebeer Madrid and Batchelder, merged last year with Howrey. (Recent reports say the law firm is now planning to cut up to 10 percent of its partners.)

Fish & Richardson is still operating after responding to the economic downturn last year. The firm laid off lawyers and support staffers, eliminated its corporate practice group, and closed an office in Austin, Texas.

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