Greenberg Traurig adds 31-person IP team, boosting Utah presence

  • Summary
  • Companies
  • Law firms
  • Greenberg Traurig brings on 16 lawyers from distributed firm FisherBroyles
  • The firm is one of several that have opened in Salt Lake City in recent years

(Reuters) – Miami-founded global law firm Greenberg Traurig said Wednesday that a 31-person intellectual property team, including 16 lawyers, has joined the firm in several locations from FisherBroyles.

The hires expand Greenberg Traurig’s attorney headcount in Salt Lake City to 26 lawyers from 15. The firm is gaining 21 people overall in the Utah capital, including 11 attorneys, according to a spokesperson. Greenberg Traurig opened in the state in 2020.

The team of 31 people includes lawyers, patent agents, specialist engineers and business staff, the firm said, with others joining in different offices.

The group includes two shareholders, registered patent attorneys Bryan Hanks and Jonathan Lee, who will split time between Salt Lake City and Phoenix.

FisherBroyles is a partner-only virtual or “distributed” law firm with attorneys spread out in different markets. The firm’s nontraditional model also allows lawyers to take home up to 80% of what they bill.

A firm spokesperson said in a statement that it did not consider revenue or headcount to be “material factors” in the departures, adding that “biggest loss is the character, integrity, and talent of these partners.”

“Having never lost a group to a traditional firm; we are intrigued by how the transition is going to work for them as they transition to a radically different model,” the firm said.

Several major out-of-town law firms have opened offices in Salt Lake City in the past few years, shaking up the local legal and talent market.

In the past year or so alone, firms including Mayer Brown, Kirkland & Ellis, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Foley & Lardner and Buchalter have flocked to the city, citing a burgeoning startup and technology sector, area universities and lifestyle factors as major draws.

While new law firm office openings in the previously under-the-radar legal market have slowed since the start of 2022, the new entrants and some other firms that have been in the market longer have continued hiring.

Greenberg Traurig’s Salt Lake City additions since its 2020 office opening include former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah John Huber and former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Utah regional director Daniel Wadley. The 2,500-lawyer firm, which has 43 offices globally, has also hired lawyers from competitor firms in the city.

Hanks and Lee, the two new shareholders from FisherBroyles, said in an interview the move to the bigger, global firm allows their team to expand the legal services it offers clients.

Another motivator was the ability to go into an office, Lee said. FisherBroyles is a fully remote law firm without physical office space in Salt Lake City, and members of the team “missed seeing people” and interacting for professional development and networking, he said.

Greenberg Traurig is not the only law firm adding intellectual property muscle lately. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe said Tuesday that it picked up a four-partner IP litigation team from Milbank, while Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and BakerHostetler have also added groups of IP-related lawyers this year.

Morrison & Foerster will also absorb 36 lawyers from Durie Tangri, a California litigation firm known for its IP cases and tech industry clientele, in a deal effective Jan. 1.

(NOTE: This story has been updated to include comment from FisherBroyles.)

Read more:

Large law firms still see allure of Utah’s ‘Silicon Slopes’

Orrick snags four-partner IP litigation group from Milbank

Rocky Mountain law firm Holland & Hart hires 6-lawyer team in Salt Lake City

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Sara Merken

Thomson Reuters

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com

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