The beleaguered Kenyon & Kenyon, one of the oldest names in intellectual property law, will dissolve as a firm while 55 of its last remaining lawyers join Houston-based Andrews Kurth, the firms jointly announced on Monday. The Kenyon name will not disappear entirely, however. Though not structured as a merger, certain Andrews Kurth offices on the East and West coasts, and the firm's beefed-up intellectual property practice, will be marketed under the name Andrews Kurth Kenyon, the announcement said.
The transaction is scheduled to close in early September and will boost Andrews Kurth's attorney headcount to more than 400 lawyers. The firm's IP practice will swell from 33 to 88.
Praising Andrew Kurth's broad geographic reach and deep resources, Kenyon & Kenyon managing partner Edward Colbert said in a statement that he was "extremely pleased to be part of this exciting firm." Colbert, who did not immediately respond to further request for comment from Reuters, will serve as global co-chair of the IP and technology practice.
Founded in 1879 under a different name, New York-based Kenyon & Kenyon was once a thriving boutique. But it has been shrinking steadily over the last year through layoffs and defections. As the departures mounted, rumors began to swirl over a possible merger.
Smaller firms have been grappling with changes in the IP landscape, including a move to faster and cheaper patent challenges in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices, and a slowdown in patent litigation. Andrews Kurth also said in the announcement that it has been building up its IP practice over several years, recognizing that "information assets lie at the core of modern business."