Paul Churchill, former head of Goodwin Procter's San Francisco office, has joined Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo to manage its San Francisco office.
He's joined by litigator Evan Nadel, a former partner in Greenberg Traurig's San Francisco office.
Churchill, a real estate attorney, set up Goodwin's San Francisco office in 2006 and helped the office grow to 28 attorneys. Now he said he's looking forward to doing the same for Mintz Levin, where he officially started his new job Monday.
"I've done this before and I know what it takes," Churchill said. "I expect to have challenges just like any new entry to the market would, but I already have all the support I need from day one."
Like Goodwin, Mintz Levin made a big push in California starting in 2006, opening offices in both Palo Alto and San Diego. But while the San Diego office has since grown to more than 30 attorneys, the firm's office at 5 Palo Alto Square, which focused on patent prosecution work, never gained traction. At its peak, the office had about 15 lawyers, but only a few remained by March of this year.
In April, those attorneys relocated to the firm's newly opened San Francisco office, where Mintz Levin is hoping to have better luck. The San Francisco office will service the firm's roster of life science and tech clients based in South San Francisco, said New York-based Mintz Levin managing partner Robert Bodian. And it will focus on practices like litigation, real estate and employment, as opposed to patent work.
Bodian said he expects that within a few years, the San Francisco office will be as large as the firm's San Diego office, if not bigger.
"San Francisco is an attractive place for firms to be, and there are advantages to being there, especially if you have a strong litigation practice," Bodian said. "But I wouldn't rule out being back in Silicon Valley, depending on how we grow and what practices we attract."
Before joining Goodwin in 2006, Churchill spent 12 years at Cooley, where he headed the firm's real estate group. Some of his clients have included Menlo Equities, Juniper Networks Inc., Misawa Homes of America Inc., Digital Realty Trust Inc. and Woodside Hotels.
Commercial litigator Nadel began his legal career in 1998 at what was then O'Sullivan Graev & Karabell, and then moved to what was then Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin in 2000. He joined Squire Sanders & Dempsey in 2006 and departed for Greenberg Traurig in 2010. Recruiter Larry Watanabe of Watanabe Nason brokered Churchill's move.