The Recorder

SAN FRANCISCO — Mayer Brown is strengthening its Bay Area antitrust capabilities with the relocation of a seasoned litigator from its Washington, D.C., office.

Partner Christopher Kelly, who spent 13 years at the Department of Justice in D.C., moved with his family to Silicon Valley just after Christmas. The addition bumps Mayer Brown's Palo Alto office to 26 lawyers.

Mayer Brown has four other antitrust litigators here, including partner Lee Rubin, a former DOJ prosecutor who also moved from D.C. a few years ago. In February, Rubin is going to bat for client Cypress Semiconductor Corp. in a price-fixing class action in Oakland.

Partner Edward (Ward) Johnson, who manages the Palo Alto office, said Kelly brings a particular mix of skills to the table.

"His experience in the kinds of things he does is unique here in Silicon Valley," Johnson said. "It's his combination of agency experience, deep antitrust background and his deep IP and technical background." He said Kelly's been working on cases in California for a number of years, and clients have been asking if he'd be moving here since the inauguration of the Obama administration and the anticipated increase in antitrust scrutiny.

Kelly said it took a few years to persuade him to uproot his family. "We've known for several years that because my specialty is how antitrust law applies to technology and IP that this is the place where the fit was the best, where the most interesting work and clients and litigation all were," Kelly said. "Ward Johnson is a very persuasive guy and nothing if not persistent."