Burdon set up Eversheds' biosciences group in London, and was approached by Olswang to launch a similar practice. The move will take Olswang beyond its media and communications core.
Burdon's biosciences group will work across the firm's intellectual property (IP), corporate, corporate finance, litigation and employment teams.
He said: “As I set up the group at Eversheds, Olswang approached me and asked me to do the same thing for them. The group will rival the other major players in the industry, such as Eversheds, Simmons & Simmons, and Taylor Joynson Garrett, which are all very strong.”
On Olswang's move away from its core area, Burdon said: “Olswang is an entrepreneurial and dynamic firm that always rides the wave of any new and profitable growth area.”
“As I set up the group at Eversheds, Olswang approached me and asked me to do the same thing for them”
Michael Burdon, Eversheds
At Eversheds, Burdon's clients include Catalyst BioMedica, the IP arm of the Wellcome Trust, and biotechnology company Lonza Biologics.
Burdon hopes to join Olswang in May, but the details of his exit are not yet finalised.
Olswang's head of IP Andrew Inglis said: “It is still yet to be decided how many people will work for Mike when he becomes head of the new biosciences unit. We will definitely be recruiting one or two solicitors straight away.”
When he joins the firm, Burdon will go into the top stream of Olswang's remuneration club.
Eversheds is the seventh highest grossing law firm in the UK, while Olswang is 48th. However, Olswang pays its equity partners more, on a largely meritocratic basis. Olswang's equity partnership is split into 'A' and 'B' groups – Burden is joining as an 'A' partner.
Olswang did not disclose its end of year equity partner earnings for 2000/2001, but the equity spread given in The Lawyer 100 was between £245,000-£985,000. At Eversheds it was between £144,000-£450,000.
“Olswang have assured me that I will certainly be no worse off when I join them,” Burdon said.