San Diego Business Journal

Law Firm Ups Biotech Team With New Hires

In a move that has the legal community talking, Fish & Richardson's local office snagged a sizable patent prosecution team from Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe.

The team of 12 includes three attorneys who joined Fish & Richardson as principals. Three associate attorneys, three technical specialists and three scientific advisers round out the group.

During coming weeks, at least one more associate, technical professionals and staff for a total of at least 10 more , from Heller Ehrman are expected to join Fish & Richardson.

At that point, Fish & Richardson will have the city's largest biotech and pharmaceutical patent law practice, firm officials said.

The team from Heller Ehrman, led by Stephanie Seidman, has 12 individuals who hold doctorates. The group's bioscience expertise includes molecular biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, synthetic organic chemistry, polymer chemistry and immunology, as well as medical devices.

"Dr. Seidman and her group are a significant expansion of our San Diego biotech practice," John Gartman, Fish & Richardson's local managing principal, said in a prepared statement. "This group also solidifies our position as a national leader in biotech law. We now have nearly 100 biotech professionals."

During 2003, Heller Ehrman gained four nationally recognized intellectual property litigators from Fish & Richardson, said Heller Ehrman's local managing shareholder, Dave Geerdes.

"Movement of this type has become almost routine among law firms these days," Geerdes said.

He wished Seidman and her group well.

Firmwide, Heller Ehrman retains a core group of more than 20 biotech patent attorneys and four patent professionals.

Fish & Richardson's San Diego office has experienced tremendous growth in the last two years in its core practice areas of intellectual property, complex litigation and corporate law. Fish & Richardson now has more than 60 attorneys.

Heller Ehrman's local office also has grown at a fast clip. During the past year, it has added more than 20 attorneys, making it one of the city's fast-growing firms.

The firm has represented biotechs such as San Diego-based Avanir Pharmaceuticals and Los Angeles-based Health Sciences Group, Inc.

, Rene'e Beasley Jones