Forward to a Friend  | June 11, 2007

Land America

 

WHAT'S UP AT
DRINKER BIDDLE?


Quick Questions for Mike McManus,
DC Managing Partner, Drinker Biddle.


You’re growing.

It’s a great untold story. We’re one of the fastest growing law firms around. In January we merged with Gardner Carton out of Chicago, which had approximately 200 lawyers. So we're now approaching 700 in a combined 12 offices. We have constantly been looking for growth opportunities. 

 

Mike McManus in the firm’s main conference room at 1500 K.  The building was put up by Southern Railroad in 1930, and this room was actually their boardroom, with the mirror reputedly  once owned by John C. CalhounDrinker Biddle took over and modernized several floors in 2000. 

 

Why the merger with a Chicago firm?

People are realizing that the country's second largest city is a good place to practice law. We see huge business opportunities there. We set up a small office two years ago. We were in the lead among east coast firms now flocking there.

 

What were other synergies that drove the merger?

We picked up their very substantial health care, corporate and transactional, real estate, ERISA, human resources, bankruptcy and IP practices, among others. And here in DC they have 35 lawyers in strong government relations, pharma consortia, tribal, and health care practices. This fits very well with our existing practices, and our long term strategic goals.

 

How many will you be in DC?

104 lawyers and professionals, plus an excellent staff. We’re taking over two additional floors and consolidating offices in July. 

 

 

What’s your growth pace in DC?

When I joined in 1999 from Jackson and Campbell, we had 21 lawyers here. Two years ago, when I took over as managing partner, we had 45 lawyers. At the time of our merger this January, we had 70. Now we’re 104. Maybe this time next year we’ll be 130.

 

Where will all your offices be now?

In addition to Washington, we’re in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Wilmington, Florham Park, NJ, Princeton, LA, Berwyn, Milwaukee, and Albany.

 

Where will you look next geographically?

North to Boston, south to Raleigh or Atlanta, maybe overseas. We already have strategic alliances in Europe, especially with a powerhouse Scottish IP firm, Murgatroyd. If we look to setting up our own offices, London and Tokyo would be natural foci, due to existing client relationships.

 

Philadelphia is still your biggest office?

Yes, and it was our original office 159 years ago when the firm was founded. We’ve had a DC office for 27 years, we represent over 230 Fortune 500 companies, so we very much consider ourselves a national firm. 

 

What practices are you targeting?

We want to continue beef up our IP practice, which has grown a great deal; we represent Pioneer, Suntori, Johnson & Johnson, Sandvik and many other well known companies on their patent, copyright and trademark matters. We’d like to grow our telecom and corporate practices, and expand our general regulatory practice. For example, we’d like to acquire an FDA regulatory practice, because we already do such much litigation work in the pharmaceutical arena, such as for Johnson & Johnson, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and others. 

 

What are you best known for today?

In Washington, in no particular order, general, white collar and labor litigation; communications; antitrust; insurance; qui tam [whistle blower/False Claims Act cases] where we’ve handled three out of the five highest profile cases recently; IP; health care and pharma consortia; tribal; and government relations.

 

Outside of the office, what do you do?

I’m passionate about Notre Dame football. And I sail a 34 foot Pierson off of Solomons Island, which I co-own with Tom Jackson, the judge of Microsoft fame.

 

 

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