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Chicago, D.C. Law Firm Opens Local Office, Targets Life Sciences

Law firm Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLP, which has offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., opened an office in San Diego on Feb. 13 that will serve as the center for its life sciences group.

The local office’s 13 attorneys and credentialed specialists offer corporate, patent procurement and patent portfolio management services to biopharmaceutical and other venture-funded and emerging companies.

Leading the team are Stephanie Seidman, a prominent biotechnology patent attorney who joins Bell Boyd as a partner from Fish & Richardson P.C., and partner David Fisher, who formerly managed San Diego’s Fisher Thurber LLP. He will lead the corporate and emerging company practice in the office.

Mike Abernathy, managing partner in the Chicago office, said the firm noticed a steady growth in corporate and venture capital clients during the last two and a half years as it developed its life sciences practice. Last year, he said the firm made in excess of $6 million in that area.

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“We were looking to further that growth and started looking at other areas that had life sciences and were venture-funded, and we very quickly got to San Diego,” he said.

Seidman said the firm has “an excellent client base” mostly composed of emerging and startup companies that have received some venture funding and some that have been funded by Big Pharma.

Initial clients include Catalyst Biosciences Inc., the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation and Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Bell Boyd’s San Diego office is located at the Gateway at Torrey Hills, 3580 Carmel Mountain Road.

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Superior Court Judge Retires:

San Diego Superior Court Judge Christine Pate has retired after 20 years on the bench.

Pate, 64, was appointed to serve the Superior Court in 1988 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian. She had previously served 18 years in private practice.

Republican William Gentry Jr., who dropped out of the race for San Diego city attorney in January, filled her place Feb. 5. Gentry, 40, served as deputy district attorney for the county since 1998.

The compensation for the position is $178,789, according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office.

In a prepared statement, Pate said her most memorable cases were in the areas of family and juvenile law.

“I will miss those with whom I was closest as friends and colleagues especially the bench in family law and in South Bay. Those were times of great camaraderie,” she said.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Kenneth So said in a statement: “Judge Pate has served the court for twenty years in some of the most challenging departments which have tremendous impact on San Diegans: family and juvenile court. The superior court will miss her historical knowledge and expertise and wishes her well in all her future endeavors.”

Pate said she plans to travel with her husband, retired Judge William Pate, spend time with her four boys, grandchildren and friends, with the possibility that she might someday work on assignment or undertake family mediation.

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DLA Piper Sees Revenues Soar:

DLA Piper reported its global revenue jumped 18.7 percent to more than $2.1 billion last year.

The firm, with 3,600 lawyers in 25 countries and 64 offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Asia, indicated that its profits per equity partner were up 8.3 percent to $1.28 million for 2007.

“These numbers are strong across all of our core practice areas. They reinforce the decision we made three years ago to be a leading business law firm on a global scale,” said Francis Burch, joint chief executive officer of DLA Piper, in a prepared statement. “I am most proud of the fact that we are reaching these strategic milestones based on the quality of our services and the strong relationships we have and continue to develop with our clients, large and small, around the world.”

DLA Piper ranks second on the latest San Diego Business Journal list of Law Firms with 127 lawyers in local offices as of Jan. 1. Only Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP, with 159, has more local lawyers.


Send news about legal services to Heather Chambers,

hchambers@sdbj.com

, or call (858) 277-6359, ext. 3125.

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