The latest partner to leave: patent litigator Jennifer L. Yokoyama, who has accepted an in-house position at Nike. Her departure from W&C is effective April 2.
“We are sorry to lose such a talented young partner in Jennifer,” said Bijal Vakil, executive partner of White & Case’s Palo Alto office. “Nike has a good eye for talent. We wish her and Nike well and look forward to remaining in contact.”
“It is a difficult decision for me to leave White & Case,” said Yokoyama. “It is a great Firm, and the Palo Alto office has an abundance of excellent attorneys and is a wonderful place to work. I could not, however, pass up the opportunity with Nike. It is a dream job for me and one that I could not turn down. I wish my friends and colleagues at White & Case continued success and will miss them dearly.”
How will Yokoyama’s leaving affect White & Case?
The firm maintains that it continues to have a robust intellectual property practice, on a global basis:
White & Case has one of the largest IP practices of any full-service firm. With nearly 200 IP practitioners in 28 offices in 18 countries, the Firm protects and defends its clients’ innovations, creative works and brands around the world. White & Case is uniquely positioned not only in Silicon Valley but also in Asia and Europe where its global resources and experience can help companies meet their most pressing technology IP needs. Recent client matters acted on by the Firm include IP disputes before courts sitting in Germany, Singapore and China, in addition to the more typical US venues of California, Texas and Delaware and before the US International Trade Commission.
Jennifer L. Yokoyama will also be leaving White & Case Palo Alto to join Nike as head of litigation, although this is not yet announced. Other than the head of the office, she is the only partner who really works out of Palo Alto.
Basically, White & Case needs to either relocate people to Palo Alto or will need to close the office. Associates in the Palo Alto office are all actively looking for new jobs.
CORRECTION: Yokoyama is not joining as head of litigation. Rather, her new job titile is Assistant General Counsel – IP Litigation.
White & Case’s loss is Nike’s gain. Earlier this month, Nike named Hilary Krane as general counsel, bringing her over from Levi Strauss. With the addition of Jennifer Yokoyama, Nike adds another high-powered female lawyer to its roster.
When it comes to increasing the number of women on its legal team, Nike’s motto appears to be: Just do it.
Nike Names Hilary Krane General Counsel [Nike (press release)]
Earlier: What’s Going on at White & Case?