Barnes grows IP practice, expands into 3 new markets

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Barnes & Thornburg, the largest law firm in the Indianapolis area, has completed a lateral hire that is bringing 17 legal professionals into its life sciences patent group and expanding its operations into three new markets.

Nine partners, one associate, two patent agents, four paralegals and an IP technical analyst have jumped from the boutique intellectual property firm of Brinks Gilson & Lione to Barnes, according to an announcement Tuesday from the Indianapolis-based law firm. As a part of the lateral moves, Barnes has established three new offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Salt Lake City.

“This talented group will further our ability to help clients cultivate and nourish their most valuable innovations,” Julia Spoor Gard, chair of Barnes & Thornburg’s Intellectual Property Department, said in a statement. “The group is a great cultural fit with our team and their extensive experience in the life sciences sector will strengthen our thriving platform and coast-to-coast reach.”

Brinks Gilson & Lione describes itself as one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States and has more than 100 attorneys, patent agents and scientific advisers. It has an office in Indianapolis and, in 2016, partnered with Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law to establish the Intellectual Property Law Scholars Program. The program, which was launched in the fall of 2016, enables qualifying part-time law students to work as paid scientific advisers at Brinks.

Barnes & Thornburg’s announcement fuels a busy quarter of growth for Indiana’s law firm community.

Bingham Greenebaum Doll unveiled its impending combination with Dentons in October, and Faegre Baker Daniels acknowledged in November that it is in talks with Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath. 

As it did by luring the group from Brinks, Barnes has been pursuing the strategy of growth through lateral hires rather than through mergers and acquisitions. Gard explained that, particularly in the intellectual property field, clients hire lawyers, not law firms. They want to work with attorneys who not only have the technical expertise and background, she told Indiana Lawyer, but who also are familiar and have good reputations in the local community.

A new office stocked with out-of-town attorneys would have a difficult time making inroads and signing on new clients, she said. In contrast, the new team has an advantage because it knows the clients and understands the technology being developed. Moreover, the legal professionals coming to Barnes know each other and have worked together extensively serving their clients.

The new group affords a “fantastic opportunity,” Gard said, to expand what the firm can do for its current clients and to provide services to new clients. In addition, the firm is able to open offices in new locations.

Led by intellectual property attorneys Allen Baum, based in Raleigh-Durham for more than 20 years, and William R. Boudreaux, based in Ann Arbor, the new team has several decades of combined experience and advanced degrees in such fields as organic chemistry, molecular biology, chemistry and biotechnology.

Group members also have in-house experience with some of the foremost names in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries and complement the firm’s existing nationally recognized life sciences practice that includes 35 life science attorneys, patent agents and legal professionals.

The Raleigh office, home to five attorneys who have practiced in the region for decades, will give Barnes a presence in the Research Triangle of North Carolina. Also, the Ann Arbor office will be the third operation Barnes has in Michigan, joining the Detroit Metro office, which opened in July 2019, and the Grand Rapids office, which has been open for more than 15 years.

“We were particularly impressed by Barnes & Thornburg’s growth over the past several years and its great reputation and depth of IP talent,” Baum said in a statement. “We’re excited to leverage Barnes and Thornburg’s full-service capabilities – which are increasingly important to clients given the way patent work is now so closely intertwined with regulatory matters and other related areas.”

Prior to the arrival of the group from Brinks, Barnes had an intellectual property department comprised of 45 legal professionals across 10 offices. Gard sees the firm’s IP department as well-positioned to capture new business. The Barnes & Thornburg attorneys, she said, have the technical background, as well as the legal experience, to help the large companies and robust startups that are innovating and developing new products.

“I am so proud of our team,” Gard said of the Barnes & Thornburg Intellectual Property Department. “We have such a great group of people, a great team.”

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