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At Storied Boutique, Failed Power Play Led To Split

Publication Date: 
May 15, 2009
Source: 
Daily Journal
Author: 
Craig Anderson

Professor Mark A. Lemley is quoted by the Daily Journal in a story about the decision to leave Keker & Van Nest to form Durie Tangri Page Lemley Roberts & Kent:

The future of Durie's new firm, Durie Tangri Page Lemley Roberts & Kent, is uncertain, and legal observers say it will take at least a year to determine how successful the small shop will be. Keker & Van Nest faces longer-term challenges, but attorneys outside the firm say they expect it will remain a successful draw for high-paying clients and talented lawyers.

...

Durie, Tangri and Lemley felt they needed to tell Keker [of their plans] before the firm's annual retreat in Half Moon Bay that weekend. Going on the retreat, which includes discussion of plans for the year, "didn't seem like a very respectful thing to do," Lemley said.

...

Durie, Tangri and Lemley all deny they were ordered to leave the Keker & Van Nest offices by the end of January, and emphasize that lawyers on each side worked together to ensure a smooth transition, dividing up existing work.

...

Few attorneys are willing to predict whether Durie and Tangri's new venture will turn out to be a success, given its small size and the lousy state of the economy. Others have questioned whether Lemley, who works at the firm one day a week because of his Stanford duties, would stick around or take a federal appointment, as his name has circulated as a candidate for several jobs. Lemley said he is "not ruling anything out, but I'm not planning anything."

...

Meanwhile, the firm has retained or added smaller companies as clients, usually defending them in patent cases. Lemley is helping represent artist Shepard Fairey in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Associated Press that is being handled pro bono.

...

Durie and Lemley both speak of alternative billing arrangements and fixed fees for small clients. Several attorneys said Keker & Van Nest, with its high fees, would not be in the price range of such companies.