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Washington DC firm Howrey Simon Arnold & White is taking on five partners from rival firms to launch an office in Chicago.
The 500-lawyer firm, which is the product of the merger between Howrey & Simon and Arnold White & Durkee last year, is taking a group of four intellectual property (IP) partners from Chicago firm Marshall O'Toole Gerstein Murray & Borun. The team includes name partner and leading IP litigator Edward O'Toole. He is joined by partners Richard Schnurr, Anthony Nimmo and Christine Dudzik. The fifth partner, Michael Patten, is joining from Gardner Carton & Douglas, where he handled general commercial litigation including antitrust and IP work. Howrey Simon boasts the biggest antitrust practice in the world, with 160 lawyers, and one of the largest IP practices, with 230 lawyers. The firm already had two lawyers in Chicago who were part of Arnold White prior to the merger, but it had been looking to build a proper office since late last year. Managing partner Robert Ruyak said: "We felt that Chicago was probably a good market for talent - there are a lot of IP lawyers, a lot of litigation lawyers and a lot of antitrust lawyers. We had our eye on it and thought we ought to expand - you've really got to have a significant office there, or nothing at all." Marshall O'Toole has had to be renamed as a result of Howrey's raid, and will now be known as Marshall Gerstein & Borun. The team is taking clients, including National Gypsum Company, to their new firm. Ruyak said: "We decided this office only had a few people, so we thought we would see if we could build a larger group of IP lawyers first and then look at litigation and antitrust. By the start of next year we hope to have 25 or 30 lawyers out there." The firm has offices in Washington DC, Houston, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, San Diego, Orange County and London. Ruyak said the firm was planning to open in Brussels by the end of this year, and added that New York and Boston remained on its shopping list. Howrey's main clients include Anheuser-Busch, Verizon Communications, Sun Microsystems, PepsiCo, Texaco, Exxon, Johnson & Johnson, HJ Heinz and Intel.