Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has bolstered its life sciences and technology practice with two partners from Arnold & Porter as the U.K.-founded firm extends its U.S. growth trajectory.
Kristen Riemenschneider and Vinita Kailasanath join Freshfields in the firm’s Washington and Silicon Valley offices, respectively.
Riemenschneider’s clients have included vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca, as well as one of three drugmakers whose Covid-19 vaccines are used in the U.S., though she declined to say which one. Kailasanath’s clients are in the life sciences and medical device sectors.
Since the start of 2020, Freshfields has lured new partners to its U.S. roster from a range of top 50 firms like Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis, Sidley Austin, Cleary, Gottlieb & Steen, and Wilson Sonsini.
Freshfields poached Adam Golden from Hogan Lovells in May to lead its U.S. life sciences practice. Golden, an IP licensing lawyer and M&A dealmaker, has represented Novartis AG, Celgene Corp., Gilead Sciences Inc., and other Big Pharma and biotech giants.
During the pandemic, Riemenschneider represented more than a dozen companies in talks with the U.S. for funds and support to stop Covid-19, according to a firm statement.
Freshfields made clear its “phenomenal” commitment to the life sciences practice, she said. “I started to see how it was coalescing around the life sciences, and I got really excited.”
Kailasanath has worked on intellectual property and transactions, including those with artificial intelligence and machine learning components.
She may be best remembered as the “Jeopardy!” college championship winner in 2001 while she was a 19-year-old sophomore at Stanford University. She received her law degree from Stanford.
Kailasanath said a focus of her work is at the intersection of technology and life sciences, particularly in the “medtech” area. That corporate sector has been maturing, she said, and companies in it are now looking to merge of buy competitors.
Freshfields’ global platform and strengthened bench in Silicon Valley, New York and Washington will allow her “to take my practice to the next level,” she said.
Freshfields for decades has been referred to as part of the “Magic Circle,” which include several of the most prestigious U.K. law firms, like Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, and Slaughter and May. Yet as the firm grows its presence inside the U.S., firm leaders are growing weary of the term.
“It’s difficult to put us in a particular box,” Freshfields global managing partner Alan Mason told Bloomberg Law in April.