Olswang former CEO Burdon to exit due to client conflicts

Olswang’s former interim CEO Michael Burdon has opted against joining his firm’s tripartite merger with CMS, instead joining Simmons & Simmons to bolster its decimated IP litigation practice in London.

Michael Burdon

Burdon, who was in charge of Olswang for eight months following the exit of longtime boss David Stewart at the end of 2014, was also the European head of IP for the firm. He was replaced by current CEO and fellow IP partner Paul Stevens in May 2015.

A source close to the matter pointed to conflicts of interest with Burdon’s main clients as the reason behind Burdon’s decision to not join CMS Cameron McKenna Olswang when their tripartite merger finalises in May 2017.

Burdon was not included in the firms post-merger leadership structure, which was announced earlier this year.

Burdon will join Simmons & Simmons’ London IP team headed by partner Rowan Freeland, which was hit by partner exits last year as the majority of its team decamped for Allen & Overy (A&O).

A&O hired partners Simmons IP head Marc Döring and Simmons partner Marjan Noor, and later returned to hire partners Mark Heaney and David Stone, which brought the firm’s IP litigation headcount down to just one partner, Freeland.

A source close Simmons said: “The firm still has a high quality practice, all that it is currently missing is numbers and they are working on remedying that.”

Burdon’s practice focuses on a diverse range of technologies from pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices through to electronics, software and communications. His client list includes pharma giant Boston Scientific.

An Olswang spokesperson confirmed that Burdon would be joining Simmons at the end of April.