Womble Bond Dickinson plants flag in New York with five-lawyer team from local IP boutique

Launch of firm's 20th US office marks five-year anniversary of transatlantic merger that created Womble Bond

Lori Cohen, Anthony Coppola, Julianne Abelman, Erica Halstead, Marie Anne Mastrovito

Womble Bond Dickinson has hired a five-lawyer team from intellectual property boutique Abelman Frayne & Schwab to open an office in New York, its 20th in the US and 27th worldwide. 

Led by partners Julianne Abelman and Marie Anne Mastrovito, the new team includes senior counsel Lori Cohen and Anthony Coppola, counsel Erica Halstead and six paralegals. The firm said the new arrivals bring Womble Bond’s IP practice headcount above the 140 mark. 

The move comes five years after the merger between UK-based Bond Dickinson and US outfit Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice went live to create the transatlantic firm, which is headquartered in London.  

Since the merger, the combined firm has looked beyond North Carolina, where it has the largest concentration of US offices, to open new bases in Boston, Los Angeles and Houston and add a second office in Palo Alto. 

Elizabeth Temple, CEO and chair of Womble Bond, said the launch aligned with the firm’s goal of targeting US markets focused on innovation and technological change. 

“Along with bolstering our trademarks and brand management practice, this addition allows us to plant our flag in one of the world’s most important business and legal centres,” she added. 

Abelman, who specialises in all aspects of international and US trademark protection and litigation, said her team was looking forward to establishing Womble Bond’s presence in New York. 

“We will be able to combine our experience and small-firm culture of personal service to our clients with the support of a highly respected intellectual property department,” she said. 

The firm said Abelman’s team covers a full range of trademark services, including the selection of marks, providing trademark clearance searches and opinions, prosecuting trademark applications and counselling on enforcement strategies, among other matters. They have worked across several key sectors, such as food, clothing, energy, consumer products and manufacturing. 

Following the departures, Abelman Frayne & Schwab’s team comprises eight attorneys as listed on their website. The firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exits. 

Womble Bond lost London partner Malcolm Dowden to Squire Patton Boggs earlier this month as part of a larger move that added six senior lawyers to the US firm’s data privacy, cybersecurity and digital assets practice in the UK. 

In March UK law firm CMS hired veteran disputes lawyer Mark Shillito ­­­– the former global head of IP at Herbert Smith Freehills – as a partner in its London office.

And last July top 100 US firm Venable added a team of five IP partners from Dentons to further expand its tech-focused IP litigation group, with the new arrivals spread across the firm’s offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC.

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