McDermott hires eight IP partners from Baker Botts to launch in Austin

New office will be headed by Baker Botts’ former Austin IP head Kevin Meek

McDermott Will & Emery has hired an eight partner-strong intellectual property team from Baker Botts to launch in Austin.

The new office will be headed by Baker Botts’ former Austin IP department head Kevin Meek, alongside Syed Fareed, Stephen Hash, Paula Heyman, Brian Oaks, Margaret Sampson, Nick Schuneman and Brett Thompsen. The group brings experience in global IP litigation and transactions across the tech, health and life sciences industries. McDermott’s Dallas-based healthcare partner Amanda Jester is also set to relocate to Austin once the office is open.

William Gaede, head of McDermott’s global IP practice group, said: “Opening an office in the Western District of Texas allows us to take full advantage of the growing influx of patent case filings in Texas since the largest percentage of all district court patent litigation cases are now filed in Texas.”

Meek joins McDermott after more than three decades at Baker Botts. He specialises in patent litigation, patent prosecution, IP licensing and trade secret litigation. 

Patent litigator Fareed had been at Baker Botts for just short of seven years, becoming a partner in 2019. He previously spent just over six years as an associate at Vinson & Elkins. Hash also joined Baker Botts in 2015 from Vinson & Elkins, where he had been for almost 15 years. His practice primarily focuses on paragraph IV disputes under the Hatch Waxman Act and he has a technical background in life sciences. Sampson also joined Baker Botts in 2015 from Vinson & Elkins. 

Heyman joins after 13 years at Baker Botts – her second spell at the firm having spent a year in-house at Philip Morris International as senior counsel between 2008 and 2009. She first joined the firm in 2000. Thompsen also joins after a second stint at Baker Botts, having first started in 2010 before taking a year out to serve as law clerk to Timothy Dyk on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Oaks, meantime, spent 24 years at Baker Botts, while Schuneman was there for 11, having joined from F&B and Vinson & Elkins before that.

Michael Poulos, McDermott’s head of strategy, said: “We’re focused on growth across McDermott’s IP, transactions and litigation practices, with parallel concentration across the technology, health and life sciences industries.”

Last month, Ashurst also announced plans to open in Austin as the Anglo-Australian firm seeks to target infrastructure project work in Texas.


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