Andrei Iancu, the former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has returned to the partnership of Irell & Manella, a win for a firm hit with a raft of departures in recent years.
Iancu will again focus on intellectual property litigation and counseling. “I’m thrilled to rejoin my friends and colleagues,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to resuming my work helping America’s leading innovators with all of their IP matters.”
His return marks a recruiting victory for the firm where renowned IP litigator Morgan Chu holds considerable sway. Irell has seen leaders depart since Iancu’s 2018 departure. Former managing partners Ellisen Turner and David Gindler left the firm for Kirkland & Ellis and Milbank, respectively, in 2019.
Irell’s headcount has dwindled to under 100 lawyers as it narrowed its focus to litigation. Despite that compact size, the firm had profits per partner nearly reaching $2.7 million in 2019, the latest available data from The American Lawyer show. That makes the firm one of the more profitable in the U.S.
“Andrei is a superb lawyer and fabulous leader—and, an outstanding human being to boot,” Chu, chair of Irell’s litigation group, said in a statement. “We know and love Andrei and again will have fun practicing law with him.”
Iancu had been an Irell managing partner starting in 2012 before leading the Patent and Trademark Office and its 13,000 employees. He also served as undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property.