Jim Bradley, senior counsel at Sidley and a managing partner of the Dallas office for eight years, shares his story on the evolution of the firm’s patent litigation practice, which has its roots in Dallas.
Tell us a bit about how you came to join Sidley.
I had actually collaborated with lawyers at Sidley for a few years before the boutique firm for which I worked—Richards, Medlock & Andrews—merged with Sidley in 1996. In the early ‘90s, Sidley and other firms sought to expand their patent litigation practices, which culminated in a series of mergers. As a result of those mergers, which included Richards, Medlock & Andrews, Sidley’s Dallas office became the only office at the firm, at that time, to be devoted solely to a single practice group: Patent Litigation.
From the beginning, we were committed to making the firm’s efforts in this legal area more prominent. The Dallas office was actually the springboard for those efforts, and we now have more than 100 lawyers in Sidley’s Patent Litigation practice.
What is most distinctive about the patent litigation group?
What I am most proud of is our industry leadership. We have cultivated enduring relationships with high-profile clients that now span decades. This includes our 30-year relationship with STMicroelectronics, for which we are currently handling a major case out of San Francisco and Palo Alto, as well as an international arbitration matter that is being handled by our Geneva office. It also includes our work for important firm clients such as AT&T, Tellabs and Microsoft.
Add to this the level of skill of our lawyers—their technical backgrounds—which enables us to handle litigation across many industries, from medical devices and semiconductors to software, electronic systems and pharmaceuticals. Members of our group have degrees in electrical engineering and computer science.
That leadership has over time helped us build the reputation and success we now enjoy, in particular, in the area of high-tech patent litigation. We have successfully represented clients to verdict in some of the most hotly contested patent cases in federal courts nationwide and in the International Trade Commission.
Is there a hallmark feature of our patent work?
We have become the go-to group for major patent litigation—not the kind brought by patent trolls that never goes to trial. The type of clients who come to us have bet-the-company significant cases with a real prospect of going to trial. Our team is known for both shepherding the litigation through trial and for successfully disposing of cases beforehand. We have taken a great deal of pride in that.
What has been exciting to note across your tenure in the Dallas office?
We have in effect more than doubled the number of lawyers in the Dallas office since I joined. This, of course, includes the recent addition of nine new partners who practice in the areas of private equity, complex commercial litigation, corporate and M&A, and global finance. Yvette Ostolaza, the new managing partner of the Dallas office, and Angela Fontana, both co-chaired national practice groups at their prior firm.
The other new partners are Penny Reid, Angela Zambrano, Kelly Dybala, Yolanda Cornejo Garcia, Scott Parel and Michelle Hartmann. The lawyers in this group have national practices that focus on providing sophisticated services for leading corporations and private equity sponsors. This was a very significant development for the firm that has enhanced and diversified our offerings out of Dallas.