Kaye Scholer launches in Silicon Valley with latest White & Case defector

Bill Coats, who is currently still with White & Case, is understood to be joining Kaye Scholer towards the end of this week. He will become managing partner of his new firm’s Silicon Valley office, the firm’s ninth office and second in California.

Coats is an IP specialist and trial lawyer whose practice focuses on patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secret disputes.  His clients include Pioneer, Toshiba America, Lucasfilm and Mesa/Boogie.

“Bill’s presence adds to our deep bench of intellectual property trial lawyers,” said Alan Fisch, the co-chair of Kaye Scholer’s IP practice. 

Barry Willner, Kaye Scholer’s co-managing partner, said the firm was pleased to be opening its new office with an “exceptional talent”.

“Establishing a Silicon Valley presence focused initially on intellectual property, followed by transactional expertise, has been a key goal of our firm’s strategic plan,” added Willner. 

“This is an opportune time to enhance our firm’s overall practice and we look forward to further growth of our firm’s capabilities in the Silicon Valley.”

Kaye Scholer’s Silicon Valley office will operate in an interim location until a permanent base is found.

Bijal Vakil, executive partner of White & Case’s Palo Alto office, said: “Bill’s been a valuable IP partner in his five years at the firm, and we wish him well.

“We have a dynamic IP group with lawyers in the United States, Europe, and Asia who do important work for important clients. Our IP group continues to grow, and we have promoted talented associates to partner this year to meet the client demand.

“Palo Alto’s an important strategic office for the firm and our clients, and you should expect to see our office grow in the near future.”

The news follows a series of defections across White & Case’s global network.

Last week The Lawyer reported that the chair of the firm’s global IT practice group Steve Betensky was quitting the firm (24 February 2010). Betensky is understood to be joining Latham & Watkins.

Other recent departures include competition partner Elaine Johnston, who joined Allen & Overy (15 February 2010), head of the firm’s metals and mining practice Tanneke Heersche, who joined Canadian firm Fasken Martineau (22 February 2010) and a total of 13 partners, who defected to Latham & Watkins over recent weeks (8 February 2010).