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Llewelyn Zietman's IP practice is in disarray after the exodus of five more lawyers, who are following the firm's co-founder David Llewelyn to White & Case, as revealed in The Lawyer (26 July).
Llewelyn will lead the US firm's IP practice in London. He will link up with White & Case's Brussels office to head its European IP operation.
The firm is also expanding its IP operation in California's Silicon Valley in a huge global expansion into what it sees as an extremely lucrative area.
A similar initiative is expected soon in Mexico.
"This is part of a strategy to build up IP capability outside New York," says Llewelyn, who joins the US firm's London office in September.
Llewelyn Zietman is losing commercial litigation and arbitration partner Jon Lang, European patent agent and consultant John Runeckles and highly-rated IP consultant and former senior partner of Dallas Brett, Hugh Brett.
Runeckles, former head of the IP rights department for Royal Ordnance, will establish a defence and aerospace practice at White & Case.
Lang joins as a partner and Brett and Runeckles join as consultants. Two assistant solicitors, Anuita Woodhull and Marcus Collins, are also joining. They will all be based at the US firm's London office.
The departures will significantly reduce the IP capabilities of Llewelyn Zietman and one of the remaining partners, Ian MacDonald, accepts that some clients are likely to follow Llewelyn.
Llewelyn's clients have included Rothmans, L'Oreal and Nike, for whom he has acted on general IP issues and trademark matters.
However, MacDonald stresses that the practices of the remaining four IP partners will not be affected and the firm plans to recruit in September.
"It is not so much a question of rebuilding as repopulating," he says.
The firm has recruited three new commercial litigation partners. John Bramhall joins from Macfarlanes; Andrew Shaw, who was formerly a partner at Dallas Brett, joins from Linnells in Oxford, and Lorna Robertson has been promoted internally.