Patexia Insight 131: Patent Litigators Who Moved in 2021
Earlier in February, we published our second annual Patent Litigation Intelligence Report. The report covered the patent litigation during the last four years including performance and activity rankings of all firms, and patent litigators. For the first time, we also reviewed the lateral moves among the top 1000 most active patent litigators to identify those who switched their firms in 2021. We also evaluated the growth of law firms by the number of patent litigators to identify those with the largest growth or decline in the number of patent litigators.
During the 4 year period from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021, we identified 14,685 active patent litigators who represented plaintiffs and defendants in various capacities from local counsel to lead counsel in 14,506 district court patent cases. To find the most important lateral moves of 2021, we reviewed the top 1000 most active attorneys as published in our latest report (the 2022 edition) to see if they had moved in 2021. We found a total of 69 moves among the top 1,000 most active litigators. That’s approximately 7 percent.
The following table shows the top 25 lateral moves of 2021 as sorted by their activity scores:
Please note that the activity score for each attorney is calculated as a weighted function of both the number of cases and the number of unique patents. The number is normalized and presented out of 100. This was explained in our previous articles. We believe the workload is impacted as the number of patents grows. Therefore, we have considered patent count as part of the overall activity score.
Using the data from the lateral moves we proceeded to generate the rankings of the law firms with the largest growth or decline in the number of litigators.
Below is the list of law firms with the largest decline in the number of litigators in 2021. The list also includes some law firms that disappeared due to merger or other reasons:
Brinks Gilson & Lione joined forces with Crowell & Moring in July 2021. They will bring their technical experience in cutting edge technologies and further expand the coverage in technology oriented practices from Crowell & Moring. Thompson & Knight joined forces with Holland & Knight in August 2021 to become one of the largest law firms in the USA, especially in Texas which is becoming a hotspot for patent litigation. Baker Botts LLP is one of the law firms that ranks high in activity working with AT&T Company, Dish Network and Samsung Electronics. Their patent litigation activity has been in decline since 2019 and this may be explained by the number of attorneys left the firm recently. Schiff Hardin LLP completed the merger with Arent Fox just back in March 2022 after a three month long process that started in December 2021. This move seems to be profitable for both firms where clients now can take advantage of the collective talents and forces. Kirkland & Ellis is another law firm that ranked high for activity and performance in the Patent Litigation report. They work closely with Samsung Electronics, Intel and Abbott Laboratories.
On the other side, we identified the firms that were the destination for these lateral partners. Here are the top ten firms with the largest gain in the number of patent litigators in 2021:
In the following week, we will continue our coverage of lateral moves as we cover a case study on the use of data and in particular IP data to help our clients achieve their expansion in new areas such as ITC or Hatch-Waxman. Stay tuned!