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Latham IP Litigator Jumps to Boutique, one of Four Partners Exiting the Firm

Posted Jan 8, 2010 12:47 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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After 20 years of practice at Latham & Watkins, intellectual property litigator Kenneth Fitzgerald says he figured he was at a point in his career where he had two choices: Stay at Latham and eventually retire, or move on to his own law firm.

Fitzgerald chose something akin to the latter option, deciding that a litigation boutique would give him the opportunity he wanted, the American Lawyer reports. The new firm, formerly known as Chapin Wheeler, will be renamed Chapin Fitzgerald Sullivan. (Chapin Wheeler founder Joseph "Jay" Wheeler, formerly of Latham, died two years ago.)

"I wanted to manage and run my own firm," Fitzgerald told the American Lawyer. "I had a great time at Latham, which I think is the Four Seasons of law firms. But given what I like to do and the kinds of clients that I like to work for, I thought [a boutique] would be a better environment."

Fitzgerald listed the advantages of working at Chapin Fitzgerald Sullivan in a press release. He will be able to do plaintiffs work, pursue alternative fee arrangements and take on clients that may have been disallowed because of conflicts at the larger firm.

The American Lawyer says three other partners are also leaving Latham: IP litigators Emmanuel Baud and Jean-Christophe Tristant in Paris, and M&A partner David Schwartzbaum in New York. Baud is going to Jones Day, along with two associates. Tristant is going to Allen & Overy. Schwartzbaum is leaping to Greenberg Traurig.

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