Thursday, October 3, 2002
Partner Kevin DeBré Leaves Brobeck, Phleger To Start Tech Group at Kelley Drye
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Kevin DeBré, a partner in Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison’s Los Angeles office and head of its technology group, has left that firm to start a similar group for Kelley Drye & Warren.
DeBré, a technology transactions and intellectual property lawyer who will join Kelley Drye as a partner, will head a technology practice group for the firm. He will also be in charge of the emerging companies practice, which focuses on legal services for venture capital firms and newer companies, and will work on the Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications group within Kelley Drye.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to be the national practice group leader of a group for a national law firm, at a time when a lot of law firms are shying away from the technology area,” DeBré said. “One of the things that impressed me about Kelley Drye... was their forward thinking.”
DeBré said he gave his notice at Brobeck Monday that he will leave by Oct. 30.
He is prohibited from recruiting other Brobeck employees for his new firm during that notice period, but says he’s “sure clients that I’ve worked with historically will be interested in continuing our relationship.”
“We are looking to try to grow our Los Angeles office,” Merrill Stone, managing partner of Kelley Drye, said. “One of the things we were looking to do in Los Angeles is get practices that will fit in well with what we’re doing nationally and fit in well with the local market. Technology fits both criteria. So we were looking for someone with that experience.”
Stone said the firm didn’t know how many lawyers it would add to the Los Angeles office, but it’s definitely hoping to expand.
The move comes during a difficult period for the San Francisco-based Brobeck. The firm has suffered from the decline in Silicon Valley business, and its cutbacks in associate ranks and numerous losses of key partners have been highly publicized.
Last week, Brobeck lost the co-chair of its mergers and acquisitions group, Eric Simonson, to Kaye Scholer. On Sept. 10, the New York office of Dewey Ballantine announced it was hiring 11 of Brobeck’s intellectual property lawyers, including James Elacqua, the head of the firm’s IP group.
Despite the losses, Brobeck partner Paul Finigan of the San Francisco office said the Los Angeles office and Brobeck in general are “doing just fine.”
“The firm is extremely vibrant right now,” he said. “The firm is actually anticipating having a year in 2002 that in many respects will be a better year than 2001.”
DeBré said his move to Kelley Drye was not affected by the previous partners’ decisions to leave. He said the media reports have contributed to the departures, not any internal problems at Brobeck.
“As a result of these departures and how they’re reported in the press, it ends up being a feeding frenzy among legal recruiters and law firms who are looking to acquire talent,” he said. “And what ends up happening is that compelling opportunities like this one surface.”
DeBré holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis and a law degree from Hastings College of the Law. He joined Brobeck as an associate in 1995. A former engineer, he has experience in commercializing new technologies and negotiating the transfer of intellectual property rights, and has represented Cisco Systems, GeoCities and Broadcom.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company