Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal had an interesting reaction to the departure of three patent litigators for Morrison & Foerster today.
After MoFo announced that Alexander Hadjis and Kristin Yohannan in Washington, D.C., and Rudy Kim in Palo Alto would be coming on board, a Sonnenschein spokeswoman told our friends at the BLT that two of the three partners (she wouldn’t name which ones) were asked to leave Sonnenschein when the firm laid off 37 lawyers and 87 staff last month.
Kim, who joined Sonnenschein last year in the firm’s new Silicon Valley office, said he wasn’t forced out of the firm.
“I can tell you emphatically that I was not laid off,” Kim stated emphatically. “There were absolutely no layoffs in Silicon Valley.”
Hadgis, who headed Sonnenschein’s patent litigation practice until a few months ago, wouldn’t directly address whether he’d been let go, but emphasized that the decision to leave was made “independently” of the layoffs.
“This decision was made before this particular decision that they’re referring to,” Hadgis told Legal Pad.
Hadgis told Legal Pad that he was attracted to MoFo’s reputation in patent litigation. He said he stepped down as head of patent litigation at Sonnenschein a couple of months ago to focus on his clients. Currently he’s working on a big patent case before the ITC for Spansion against Tessera, which he said he’ll be bringing over to his new employer.
Yohannan also would not directly address whether she was let go, but said the move had been in the works for months. "I’m not quite sure why Sonnenschein is deciding to focus on negative things," said Yohannan, who'd only been at the firm since February. "Hopefully we can all focus on the positive."
Kim told Legal Pad that he also liked MoFo’s reputation.
“I ultimately felt that MoFo was a better fit for me,” Kim said. “It has a stronger West Coast presence, a stronger reputation in patent litigation and stronger offices in Asia.”
Kim said he liked working at Sonnenschein — especially being one of the first partners in the firm’s new Silicon Valley office — but added that he misjudged the firm a little when he joined.
"I guess there were some things I didn’t appreciate about the platform prior to joining Sonnenschein,” Kim said. “While Sonnenschein has made some progress in building its patent litigation group, it doesn’t have the same brand name recognition.”
Yar Chaikovsky, a patent litigator who co-heads Sonnenschein’s Silicon Valley office, said that the firm’s patent litigation practice will be just fine and continues to grow.
— Zusha Elinson