Perkins Coie has opened an Austin, Texas, office with alumni from Vinson & Elkins and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
The Austin outpost is Seattle-based Perkins Coie’s 20th office globally, as it looks to establish a strong tech-based practice in the Lone Star state. The firm first entered the Texas market a decade ago, opening a Dallas office which has since grown to 30 lawyers. Perkins Coie plans is to build up its Austin office to 10 to 15 partners in a short period of time, said a firm spokesman.
The firm sees significant strategic opportunities in Texas as Austin and Dallas continue to grow as business centers for startups, medium-sized companies, and large, global corporations, Perkins Coie’s firm-wide managing partner, Bill Malley, said in a statement. “Opening an office in Austin with an impressive team of new partners positions us to better serve existing clients and secure new business,” he said.
Ex-Vinson & Elkins partners Andrew Smetana and Craig Tyler are joining as partners as is former Wilson Sonsini partner Jose Villarreal as the firm expands its foothold in Texas with its newest office opening. Smetana advises entrepreneurs and investors in a wide variety of technology and high-growth enterprises. He joined Vinson & Elkins in 2016 from Vapor IO, where he was general counsel of the early stage micro data center business. Prior to joining the company he was an associate at Wilson Sonsini and Reed Smith.
Tyler is a veteran intellectual property trial and appellate lawyer who has spent 20 years litigating trade secrets and infringements and validity matters in federal and state courts for clients across a wide array of industries including software, internet, telecommunications. He joined Vinson & Elkins in 2016 from Wilson Sonsini where he spent 13 years in its Austin office.
Villarreal has spent the last 17 years at Wilson Sonsini where focused on patent litigation and alternative dispute resolution, strategic intellectual property counseling, intellectual property licensing and merger and acquisition due diligence.
In addition to its expansion into Austin, the firm is adding former Vinson & Elkins counsel Wendy Wang to its Palo Alto, Calif., office as a partner. Wang focuses on IP litigation, including patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights.