Weil forms West Coast disputes practice

Weil Gotshal & Manges is set to attack the California litigation market with the launch of a full-scale disputes practice.

Co-head of the firm’s IP and media practice Kenneth Steinthal is relocating to Silicon Valley along with five other litigation specialists. So far, the firm’s West Coast operation, which is led by partner Matt Powers, has focused on patent litigation.

Steinthal is currently working alongside IP and media co-head Bruce Rich in defending former Napster backer Bertelsmann against music publishers and recording companies, which are seeking more than $17bn (£9.03bn) in damages. They are alleging that the German media company’s support of Napster contributed to the widespread piracy of copyrighted material.

Global head of litigation Jim Quinn said the firm’s lack of a broad litigation capability on the West Coast had left it unable to service clients in major disputes.

The firm’s clients with substantial operations in California include Apple, Disney, eBay, MTV Networks, Sony Pictures and Yahoo!.