Law360, San Diego (March 25, 2016, 6:44 PM ET) — Fish & Richardson PC remains the biggest intellectual property boutique on the block, according to Law360’s survey of the largest U.S. law firms, amid a tough legal market that has prompted IP specialty shops to retool their tactics as they scramble to best BigLaw rivals in the battle for top-tier work.
Boston-based Fish & Richardson once again nabbed its spot as the U.S.’ largest IP boutique with its 360 U.S.-based attorneys, dozens more than Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP, which saw a 3.9 percent drop in its headcount numbers over 2015, to end the year at 296 attorneys. Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP was close behind, seeing a 3.6 percent rise in its ranks over 2015 to close the year with 285 lawyers, according to data compiled for the Law360 400 rankings.
Many IP boutiques weathered attorney losses in 2014, but the flow of departures is starting to subside, and some are even posting gains, a sign that IP specialty shops are taking steps to reposition themselves in the rocky legal landscape.
Over the last year, Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto saw its attorney headcount reduced by just 4 percent, Finnegan’s ranks dropped by 3.9 percent, Brinks Gilson & Lione’s headcount decreased by 3.01 percent, and Cantor Colburn LLP’s bench went down by 1.05 percent, losses that in many cases were much less severe than what the boutiques experienced in 2014.
And six firms notched gains in 2015, including Harness Dickey & Pierce PLC and Banner & Witcoff Ltd., which listed the greatest rise in attorneys by 8.57 and 6.38 percent respectively. Fish & Richardson PC also reported a 0.28 percent gain in 2015, a change in course for a firm that had listed a drop in 2014.