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How Some Firms Get a Leg Up on Tech and Talent: The Morning Minute

  • May 4, 2023

TECH BY OSMOSIS – Product demos can only take you so far. Sometimes the best way to gain a deeper understanding of a topic like technology is to just hang out with folks who really get it. While tech industry belt-tightening has led Big Law to trim emerging companies and venture capital (ECVC) practices, midsize law firms have actually embraced those clients. And, as Law.com’s Isha Marathe reports, doing so can help firms in ways that go beyond just their bottom lines. Often, for instance, these practices push law firms to become early adopters of legal technology. For those that really develop connections with the ECVC communities, such practices also can provide them with more access to technology experts or lawyers with honed tech skills.

PRIVATE PRIVACY CLAIMS PROLIFERATE – On its way to Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk is the My Health My Data Act, the “first state-level health data bill of its kind,” aimed at protecting personal information related to health conditions or attempts to obtain health care services. It’s also the first state privacy law to contain a “private right of action” provision since 2008, which means that, for the tech industry, there will be litigation. Likely lots of it, Law.com’s Riley Brennan reports. “We have seen wave after wave of cases filed not just against the large tech companies, but against the companies that use their products,” said David Zetoony, the co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s data, privacy and cybersecurity practice. “Washington’s statute will certainly add more fuel to that fire and give plaintiffs attorneys another statute and legal theory to explore.”

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Global law firm Goodwin is setting up a Philly tech, startups and life sciences practice

  • February 11, 2023

Abe Kwon has been representing tech startups through their “life cycle” from incorporation and raising their first capital, all the way through an exit or merger, for more than a decade.

He’s spent his law career at a handful of firms in Philadelphia, and recently joined Goodwin as the firm opens a Philly office serving the life sciences, tech, healthcare and private equity. The firm’s local office so far has 17 partners, including Kwon, who work from a coworking space at the Cira Center, while they look for long-term office real estate. The firm will be hiring associates and support staff when they find a permanent office location, he said.

Though Philly’s life science sector has been growing for a while, the city isn’t traditionally known as a tech hot bed, per Kwon — but he feels that’s starting to change. The choice to move to Goodwin was an easy one for Kwon, who called it “a premiere firm” for those industries.

“Goodwin is uniquely positioned to serve clients at the busy intersection of capital and innovation,” said Rachael Bushey, co-chair of Goodwin’s Philadelphia office, in a statement. “The Philadelphia market sits squarely within this intersection for biotech, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, entrepreneurs, and investors.”

The practice is home to lawyers specializing in early-stage companies, patent lawyers, and pros with experience taking companies public — a “360-degree scope,” Kwon said. Because he works with companies in the tech and life sciences space, he can speak to the similarities and differences early-stage companies in those industries hold. Raising an early VC round might look similar for two startups, he said, but there’s industry-specific nuance. A biotech company will be looking at navigating the clinical trial process; its intellectual property needs will be different from that of a SaaS company.

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