Slaughter and May’s head of IP and co-leader of technology, media and telecoms (TMT) is taking a year-long sabbatical as opposed to the magic circle firm’s usual three-month leave.
Nigel Swycher is heading to California for 12 months of “work, leisure and study”, with his break beginning in August.
Slaughters’ US best friend Davis Polk & Wardwell has an office in Silicon Valley and the firm has a close relationship with Los Angeles-based litigation boutique Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges.
Slaughters practice partner David Frank denied the break was a reflection of the state of the TMT market. “It’s not market-driven. It’s Nigel-driven,” he said.
IP partner Susie Middlemiss will take charge of the department, which is part of the TMT group now under the sole control of Swycher’s co-head William Underhill.
Swycher said: “It’s a great time to go. The TMT business has never been stronger. When I started I was the only partner and now we have eight. Also, it’s not as crazy and busy as it was four years ago.”