In 2001, author Lynn Roundtree wrote a book on the first 125 years of the law firm now known as Womble Bond Dickinson titled “The Best is Yet to Be.” That title proved prophetic in 2017, as the firm reached new heights—and new places—during the past 12 months.
The Transatlantic Law Firm Close to Home
Obviously, the biggest firm news of 2017—and quite possibly the most significant moment in firm history—took place in June, when the partnerships of UK-based Bond Dickinson LLP and US-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP agreed to combine as equal members in a new entity under the name Womble Bond Dickinson.
The combined firm launched on Nov. 1 with more than 1,000 lawyers. By size, the combined firm is a Top 20 firm in the UK, Top 80 firm in the US, as well as a Global Top 100 firm by annual revenue ($410 million/£340million). Womble Bond Dickinson’s client base includes more than 250 publicly traded companies.
Womble Bond Dickinson Co-Chair Betty Temple said at the time, “This isn’t just the combination of a big US firm and a big UK firm. It’s the combination of a law office in Newcastle with one in Charlotte, an office in Baltimore with an office in Bristol and so on. This entire development was borne out of a desire to better serve the business communities in which Womble Bond Dickinson is rooted.”
Boston Becomes the Newest Womble Bond Dickinson Home
But the firm’s growth didn’t stop there. In September 2017, the firm opened a new office in Boston, with long-time IP partner Sarah Keefe as Managing Partner. Experienced Boston patent lawyers Danielle Herritt, Deborah Vernon, Ph.D., and Cristin Cowles, Ph.D., soon joined the new office, which gives the firm its first location in the New England region. Womble Bond Dickinson’s Boston team serves one of the nation’s most robust IP markets, including the pharmaceutical/biotech/medical device industry.
Client Service Innovations
In addition to growing in numbers, Womble Bond Dickinson also made significant strides in improving the delivery of client services in 2017.
For example, the firm joined with Kira to provide intelligence (AI) software for document review and analysis. Kira’s technology amplifies the skills and service already provided by Womble Carlyle attorneys. The result is a faster, more accurate, more affordable contract review product for firm clients.
Likewise, the firm announced a partnership with ROSS Intelligence to provide legal research services. The ROSS Intelligence system allows attorney users to ask direct questions and receive accurate answers in seconds. ROSS Intelligence helps Womble Bond Dickinson attorneys to spend less time on legal research and more time on advising and representing clients.
The firm established an Innovation Board to drive new thinking and bold ideas. In March, offices in both the UK and the US observed Innovation Week activities designed to stimulate innovative, critical thinking.
Telecom Team to Join in January
Bennet & Bennet, PLLC, a D.C.-area communications and technology law firm, is joining Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Led by Carri Bennet and Michael Bennet, the seven-lawyer Bennet & Bennet team will practice in Womble Bond Dickinson’s Washington, D.C. office.
Major California Expansion Planned for 2018
The year ended with yet another major announcement, as Womble Bond Dickinson announced plans to add the long-time California IP firm Blakely Sokoloff Taylor Zafman, LLP, effective Jan. 2, 2018. The addition of the Blakely team will add 24 lawyers and patent agents to Womble Bond Dickinson’s roster as well as offices in Los Angeles, Orange County and Sunnyvale to complement the firm’s existing Palo Alto office.