Sonnenschein launches in Silicon Valley

Chicago-headquartered firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal has made the first step of an ambitious growth strategy exclusively revealed in The Lawyer by opening an office in Silicon Valley in March.

To kickstart the office, the firm’s third in California, Sonnenschein has lured IP partner Yar Chaikovsky from Weil Gotshal & Manges’ Silicon Valley office.

Sonnenschein’s Silicon Valley outpost will be predominantly technology-focussed. Chaikovsky will be aided by three current Sonnenschein partners who will be parachuted in from the firm’s San Francisco office.

Sonnenschein partners Jason Altieri, William Choe and Tarek Fahmi all have expertise in venture capital, another focus for the office, while Chaikovsky is a patent litigator.

Weil Gotshal’s Silicon Valley office still has eight patent litigation partners.

Sonnenschein’s chairman-elect Elliott Portnoy said: “Having a robust Silicon Valley presence is critical to achieving our strategic objectives.”

Speaking exclusively to The Lawyer before Christmas, Portnoy said: “Perhaps the most significant near-term priority is going to be to dramatically strengthen our portfolio of practices through growth.”

He said that by the first half of 2007, the firm hoped to launch three new practice areas and about the same number of offices. He named patent litigation as one area of focus for growth, in addition to hopsitality and healthcare.

The plans for growth included sounding out a plan for relaunching in London, as first reported in The Lawyer (8 January).

Portnoy hopes to grow firm revenue by over 60 per cent to around £370m to push Sonnenschein into the ranks of the top 25 US firms.