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October 7, 2010 3:17 PM

Nelson Mullins Merges with Boston IP Boutique

Posted by Brian Baxter

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, an Am Law 200 firm based in Columbia, S.C., announced on Thursday that it had agreed to a merger with Boston IP boutique Lahive & Cockfield.

The merger gives Lahive's lawyers national reach and expands the IP capability of Nelson Mullins. James Gray, Jr., an administrative partner at the firm, said in an interview with The State that Lahive's IP expertise was a "core practice of the future."

The deal brings Lahive's 19 lawyers under the Nelson Mullins banner, helping the 400-lawyer firm advise clients in the high-tech, life sciences, and biotechnology area. Nelson Mullins's previous IP work has focused on protecting patents, copyrights, and trademarks through litigation, Gray told The State, which notes that Lahive's clients include Biogen, Novartis, and Sun Microsystems.

The State reports that the merger between Lahive and Nelson Mullins will double the size of the combined firm's Boston office to nearly 40 lawyers. Nelson Mullins will move 19 Boston-based lawyers into Lahive's current space, according to the Boston Business Journal. In March 2009, McCarter & English poached Lahive's life sciences team, taking eight lawyers and four patent agents from the boutique.

Nelson Mullins opened its Boston office in February 2006. It expanded its presence there in 2009 when it brought on nine lawyers and two public strategies professionals from the now-defunct Philadelphia firm,  WolfBlock. Robert Crowe, a former WolfBlock partner who now cochairs Nelson Mullins's government relations practice and comanages its Boston office, said in a statement that the addition of Lahive was the next "logical step" in expanding the firm's presence in New England.

According to the most recent Am Law 200 financial data, Nelson Mullins had gross revenue of $193 million and profits per partner of $485,000 in 2009. In addition to Boston and Columbia, the firm has offices in Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., Charlotte, Greenville, S.C., Huntington, W. Va., Myrtle Beach, S.C., Raleigh, Tallahassee, Washington, D.C., and Winston-Salem, N.C.

Both Lahive and Nelson Mullins state that their merger will be effective as of November 1.

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