McGuireWoods adds IP litigation duo from Winston & Strawn to bolster US life sciences coverage

Michael Nutter and Merritt Westcott join as partners in Chicago and Houston respectively

Merritt Westcott and Michael Nutter Images courtesy of McGuireWoods

McGuireWoods has hired a pair of experienced trial lawyers from Winston & Strawn to broaden its life sciences patent litigation coverage.

Michael Nutter and Merritt Westcott join the firm as partners, with Nutter taking up residence in Chicago where he will lead the firm’s pharmaceutical and life sciences patent litigation group, while Westcott will be based in Houston. Nutter’s practice focuses on advising generic drug companies in patent infringement matters and helping companies develop and launch generic medicines. Westcott handles a range of drug patent litigation cases and other related disputes such as medical and clinical devices.

Dion Hayes, McGuireWoods’ deputy managing partner for litigation, said: “Mike and Merritt are talented and respected trial lawyers who strengthen our patent litigation bench in key markets. Their experience and industry knowledge will have enormous benefits for our clients.”

Nutter spent more than 18 years at Winston, having previously been an associate at Michael Best & Friedrich and legacy firm Jenkens & Gilchrist. He started his career at Wallenstein Wagner & Rockey. Westcott, meantime, spent more than 11 years at Winston and the same amount of time at legacy firm Howrey before that.

Dave Finkelson, chair of McGuireWoods’ IP litigation and transactions department, said: “Mike and Merritt are go-to trial lawyers for pharmaceutical patent disputes and will be outstanding additions to our Hatch-Waxman patent litigation practice. Both of them excel at helping companies devise strategies to navigate patent challenges and bring products to market.”

Nutter is the firm’s fifth partner to join in Chicago this year, following the arrivals of antitrust litigator Holden Brooks, healthcare lawyer Rubin Pusha, product liability litigator Patrick Clyder and deal lawyer Jason Griffith. Westcott is also the latest addition to the firm’s Houston office following litigation partner Jeremiah Anderson's arrival in July from King & Spalding.

A number of US firms have been strengthening their life sciences and IP practices this year. In July, McDermott Will & Emery hired an eight partner-strong IP team from Baker Botts to launch in Austin. And in June, Morrison Foerster hired life sciences IP and deals lawyer Matthew Ferry from Perkins Coie in San Diego.

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