Allen & Overy to open in Boston after hiring five-partner IP litigation team from Goodwin Procter

UK Magic Circle firm gains presence in life sciences hub as it adds fifth office to US network
Boston skyline

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Allen & Overy has hired a highly rated five-partner life sciences IP litigation team from Goodwin Procter in a move that also hands it an office in Boston, its fifth in the US.

The team is led by New York-based Elizabeth Holland, who was a member of Goodwin’s partnership committee, and also comprises Bill James, John Bennett, Nick Mitrokostas and Daniel Margolis.

They will be based across the firm’s New York, Washington DC and Boston offices. The Boston arm, which is expected to open this quarter, will be the home of Bennett and Mitrokostas. A&O joins fellow UK-based firm Withers in having a foothold in the city, one of the world's leading life sciences hubs.

The news continues a sustained run of US expansion by A&O which began last March when it hired a six-partner US project finance and renewables team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to open in Los Angeles. Then, in August it secured an eight-partner White & Case technology team to launch in Silicon Valley. 

Global head of litigation Karen Seward said the latest team hire was a “testament to A&O’s status as a leading global intellectual property litigation advisor” and promised further “strategic investment” in the firm’s litigation practice. 

In recent years, Holland, who will become the head of the firm’s US life sciences practice, and her team have been consistently recognised for the quality of their patent infringement and related litigation work advising life sciences companies.

Their arrival follows A&O’s hire last August in New York of Sapna W. Palla from Wiggin & Dana, where she led the life sciences IP team. And in May last year, the firm secured  partner Dr Stephan Neuhaus from Hogan Lovells in Dusseldorf.

The Chambers and Partners Multi-Jurisdictional Legal Rankings for life sciences place A&O in band four, with Covington & Burling and Hogan Lovells occupying the top band. However, the Magic Circle firm is named as a band one firm in the UK guide for its international and cross border capabilities.

US senior partner Tim House added: “The ability to develop coordinated, cross-border IP protection strategies from within a single firm with a uniform commitment to quality and client service is something that is requested by more and more of our global clients. Combining this renowned US life sciences litigation team with our recent technology litigation and antitrust lateral hires on the East and West Coasts, we offer a premier life sciences and technology litigation capability to cover the full spectrum of IP protection that our clients need in these rapidly converging sectors, in all the most important global jurisdictions.”

The US investment in disputes follows two high-profile laterals in London last month: RPC’s head of civil fraud, Andy McGregor, and Norton Rose Fulbright’s EMEA head of disputes, Michael Godden.

Withers, meanwhile, gained its presence in Boston last April when it hired a trio of patent partners from Burns & Levinson. In July, US national firm Barnes & Thornburg hired a quartet of IP lawyers from Nutter McClennen & Fish to launch in Boston, the firm’s 20th office nationwide.

A Goodwin spokesperson said of its departing team: “We wish them the best in their new roles.”

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