The bleeding continues at Howrey. The latest departures from the firm include Henry Bunsow, who until recently served as vice chairman of the firm and managing partner of Howrey's Northern California offices. Bunsow, a San Francisco-based partner, is also one of six members of Howrey's executive committee.
Bunsow, whose practice focuses on intellectual property, is moving to Dewey & LeBoeuf’s San Francisco office. Joining him are former Howrey IP partners Denise De Mory and Brian Smith. Bunsow, De Mory and Smith all join Dewey as partners.
Bunsow, De Mory and Smith focus their practice on complex patent cases in a range of industries, including electronics, integrated circuits, networking, semiconductor manufacturing, software, wireless communications, biotechnology and mechanics.
According to his online biography, in 2010, Bunsow successfully represented Acushnet Co., which produces Titleist-brand golf products, in a patent infringement case alleging that the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball infringed on four patents owned by Callaway. Also in 2010, he served as lead trial counsel for DA Nanomaterials in a suit that secured a declaratory judgment of noninfringement on four patents.
The news of Bunsow, De Mory and Smith leaving Howrey comes on the same day that Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton announced that it is opening an office in Taipei, Taiwan, with the addition of four lawyers from Howrey’s office in Taipei. That team includes partner Glenn Rhodes, who will serve as managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend’s Taipei office; associates I-Wen Chu and Cindy Chou; and Y.S. Hsieh, who is of counsel to the firm.
Bunsow’s team’s move is the latest defection from Howrey, which has seen a spate of departures in the past year. As the November issue of The American Lawyer put it, "Since March, there has been an extraordinary exodus of partners, capped in mid-October by the departure of most of the vaunted European IP practice, including the firm's Europe managing partner and 11 other partners." In December, the firm also lost a three-partner team of litigators to Sidley Austin that included litigation co-chairman Gary Bendinger.
Howrey vice chairman Sean Boland said that, while he and the rest of Howrey’s partners wish Bunsow’s team well, Howrey is optimistic about its prospects for 2011. Boland said that the firm went through a “difficult” restructuring process in 2010 that has put the firm in a “much better position for 2011.”
“The amount of costs taken out of the firm at all levels—which include leases, partners, associates, and the like leaving the firm—have made the firm much more efficient,” Boland said. “It’s done wonders for our cost structure such that we’re going to see some major advantages in 2011. We’re very encouraged by the cost cutting that we’ve done.”
He added, “Like every firm, we’d like to see the recession end. But there are changes in the legal market that are likely permanent. Clients have learned that they have more purchasing power and in some cases are exercising that. We as a firm have to continue operating more efficiently as a result.”
For Dewey, the addition of Bunsow, De Mory and Smith comes just two months after patent litigator Joseph Lavelle left Howrey after 29 years to join Dewey.
Dewey also announced today that it was bringing on several other laterals this week. In Silicon Valley, Craig Allison, whose practice focuses on complex patent and trade secret matters, is rejoining the firm from Dechert as a partner. In Houston, the firm is adding partners Karl Hopkins and Steven Otillar to its oil and gas industry practice group. And in New York, Dewey is adding partner James Carter to its international arbitration and cross-border dispute resolution practice group. Carter joins the firm from Sullivan & Cromwell.