Cooley Lands Chadbourne & Parke’s Top IP & Litigation Partners

Walt Hanchuk (left) and John Kheit (right).

Cooley LLP recently announced that two top Intellectual Property lawyers have joined the firm, coming over from Chadbourne & Parke. The two IP attorneys stolen away by Cooley are Walter Hanchuk and John Kheit, both who join Cooley as partners in the firm’s New York office.  Cooley’s IP group now includes more than 110 lawyers and 50 other professionals and represents many of the world’s leading technology and life sciences companies. Kheit is a long time personal friend of mine.

At Chadbourne & Parke, Hanchuk was chair of the firm’s IP practice and Kheit led the firm’s Mobile Technology practice group. Hanchuk joins Cooley’s national IP group as chair of the firm’s New York IP practice and will be driving the strategic growth of the firm’s IP practice in New York.

“Walter and John have developed one of the premier IP transactional, litigation, and patent asset creation practices in New York,” said Joe Conroy, Cooley’s New York-based CEO. “Their extensive experience in all phases of IP, including a particular expertise in financial services and software technologies, extends the reach of Cooley’s IP practice in New York and creates powerful synergies across our core IP and business technology practices across the firm.”

“The addition of Walter and John underscores the firm’s commitment to building a high-end, multi-disciplinary IP practice in New York that will complement our national strengths,” said Jim Brogan, chair of Cooley’s IP practice. “Their arrival builds on this momentum and is a great step forward for the New York office and for our firm.”

I have known John Kheit for 15 years and have the highest regard for him and his abilities.  He is one of the most gifted patent minds I know, and to call him an expert in the field of computer technologies doesn’t even come close to appropriately describing the depth of his knowledge in the field. He is my long time friend; we were roommates while in law school pursuing our Master of Laws at the school then known as Franklin Pierce Law Center. Through John I have known Walt for many years as well, although mostly virtually through e-mails.


Cooley landing John and Walt comes on the heels of other expansion, which suggests Cooley is angling for much bigger things.  Approximately 6 months ago Cooley landed IP litigator Joe Drayton from Kaye Scholer.  Drayton had been with Kaye Scholer for nearly 15 years.  About 16 months ago Cooley also landed Matt Langer, a life sciences-focused patent prosecutor and counselor, who had previously been a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Scott Balber

What is particularly intriguing about the acquisition of Hanchuk and Kheit, however, is that it closely follows closely after the arrival of another Chadbourne & Parke alum, Scott Balber. Balber and his team joined Cooley on October 8. Balber was previously the co-chair of Chadbourne & Parke’s Litigation practice. Scott now serves as chair of Cooley’s Financial Services Litigation practice. In his first week at Cooley, Scott and his team delivered a $10.1 million patent infringement verdict for Rockwell Automation at a jury trial in the Western District of Wisconsin.

I know John and Walt are the “real deal” when it comes to attorneys, so this is not just a story of folks moving from place to place, perhaps not fitting in and moving to escape the wrath of partners. As far as I know, both Walt and John have an attractive book of business.  And despite my close, personal relationship with John he hasn’t shared any of the gory details with me.  That should be evident by my late reporting on this matter, which comes weeks after word of his joining Cooley was reported in the industry press in New York.  John, a man of great integrity, didn’t even allow me to break the news!

So I don’t know what is going on at Chadbourne & Parke, but I do know I know that Walt and John were both at Morgan & Finnegan and left for Chadbourne over 7 years ago. Morgan & Finnegan subsequently filed for bankruptcy several years later.   Over time the best attorneys were slowly bled from Morgan & Finnegan, and virtually all of the rainmakers left.  There were obviously internal problems of one kind or another, likely of a structural nature compounded by top earners and rainmakers leaving. Now I see top level attorneys leaving Chadbourne & Parke, one of them my friend who had enough sense to get out of Morgan & Finnegan years before they went bankrupt. Could this be a sign of what may become over the next several years for Chadbourne & Parke?

Losing the chair of your IP department is bad, losing the co-chair of your litigation practice is also bad and losing a computer/mobility talent like John is bad. That seems like three-strikes to me, particularly when your IP group chair up and leaves to move to another firm just blocks away.  Indeed, losing three top attorneys at virtually the same time to a cross-town rival should raise eyebrows. What is going on at Chadbourne & Parke?

In any event, here are the wonderful things Cooley published about Walt and John in the firm’s press release announcing their arrival —

Walter Hanchuk has practiced intellectual property law for more than 20 years, with a particular focus on patent and copyright litigation at the trial and appellate levels. In addition to his litigation experience, Hanchuk’s practice includes obtaining, licensing and enforcing worldwide IP rights, as well as conducting IP due diligence investigations and strategic reorganizations of existing patent portfolios in the financial services, information technology and telecommunications sectors.

Earlier in his career, Hanchuk was a partner at IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan. Hanchuk also served as a US Patent Examiner at the US Patent & Trademark Office. He received his JD from the George Washington University Law School and his BE from the Cooper Union.

John Kheit focuses his practice on representing a variety of technology-focused companies in complex litigation, patent and licensing matters. Particularly active in the computer software sector, Kheit has a deep understanding of microprocessors, electronic commerce, payment systems, communication, wireless, and network technologies. He has also been involved in the patenting of pure software technologies, including financial instruments, data-structures, graphical user interfaces, digital rights management, and peer-to-peer networking.

Prior to practicing law, Kheit worked in high-technology, corporate and academic arenas, including positions with NeXT Computer, Inc., Time Warner, Harvard University, Franklin Pierce Law Center and the University of Toledo Law School. He received his JD from New York Law School; his BA and MBA from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and his LLM from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

About Cooley LLP

Cooley’s attorneys have an entrepreneurial spirit, substantive experience and are committed to solving clients’ most challenging legal matters. From small companies with big ideas to international enterprises with diverse legal needs, Cooley has the breadth of legal resources to enable companies of all sizes to seize opportunities in today’s global marketplace. The firm represents clients across a broad array of dynamic industry sectors, including technology, life sciences, venture capital, clean energy, real estate and retail. More than 300 of Cooley’s 650 attorneys are litigators handling leading national cases, often at the intersection of law and innovation.

The firm has full-service offices in eleven major business and technology centers: Boston, MA; Broomfield, CO; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Palo Alto, CA; Reston, VA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC; and Shanghai, China.


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