CMS boosts London IP team with hire of HSF's former global practice head

Mark Shillito’s arrival signals ‘ambition and commitment’ to invest in IP, firm says

CMS has hired veteran disputes lawyer Mark Shillito ­­­– the former global head of IP at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) – as a partner in its London office. 

Shillito joins CMS after a 30-year career at HSF, where he led its IP practice for nearly a decade as well as spending six years as UK/US head of disputes. 

His appointment is the latest of a series of IP hires by CMS, the firm having added four partners in six months, and provides the team with considerable managerial heft alongside his extensive industry experience.

In January CMS hired patent litigation specialist Toby Sears as a partner from Allen & Overy, where he was a senior associate, and last September it secured trademark and copyright partner Ben Hitchens from Locke Lord’s London office.

Shillito’s arrival brings CMS’s IP partner count to 17, supported by more than 130 lawyers, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys and specialist IP administrators and paralegals. 

Sarah Wright, head of IP at CMS UK, said: “Mark’s appointment is a clear indication of the firm’s ambition and commitment to investing in the growth of our IP team, and in particular in patent litigation. We are delighted he has chosen to join us.”

Shillito said he was “delighted to be joining such a talented team and one which is so demonstrably in growth mode”, citing the firm’s sectoral focus and ‘cradle to grave’ IP service, which he called “a powerful combination”.  

One thing that sets Shillito apart is his versatility across a broad array IP disputes covering all core IP rights, as well as assessing the disputes ramifications for UK clients, post-Brexit

He also advises on crisis management and IP-driven transactions and has significant experience across the TMT, FMCG and life sciences sectors, all of which are expected to grow significantly post-pandemic.

Shillito retired from HSF’s partnership in March 2021, having stepped down as global head of IP in June 2020, when he was succeeded by London’s Sophie Rich and Australia’s Rebekah Gay. 

He was succeeded as HSF’s UK/US head of disputes by banking litigator Damian Byrne Hill in October 2018, a role he combined with his leadership of the IP group. 

Under his watch, the firm opened a disputes-led New York office in 2012 and grew its IP team in Europe. He stood against incumbent James Palmer for HSF’s senior partner position in 2018.

In a statement, HSF said: “We thank Mark for the contribution he has made to our firm's success over many years. We wish him well for his next chapter."

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