In the News Texas Lawyer

Kirkland Adds Holland & Knight IP Trial Lawyer in Austin

Kirkland & Ellis announced that Nadia Haghighatian has joined the Firm as a partner in the Intellectual Property Group. Ms. Haghighatian will be based in the Firm’s Austin office.

Holland & Knight intellectual property partner Nadia Haghighatian has joined Kirkland & Ellis as a partner in Austin, as the firm continues to build the IP trial practice it launched in Austin a year ago.

Haghighatian, who is moving to Austin from Dallas, said Kirkland “presented a really compelling opportunity to join a vibrant new office and a powerhouse IP group.”

The firm’s IP practice is busy with trials and provides great opportunities for young lawyers to build experience, she said.

Austin is located in the Western District of Texas, which has become a hotspot for patent litigation after Alan Albright took the federal bench in Waco.

Kirkland partner Jeannie Heffernan, who moved to the firm’s Austin office last July from New York to lead the IP practice, said

Haghighatian brings much to the firm, including experience in IP litigation and excellent technical writing skills. She also is a “huge champion of diversity that was sort of the icing on the cake” as the firm recruits in the Texas market. Haghighatian said she is interested in helping to recruit talented lawyers to the office, particularly those who are women, people of color or LGBTQ.

“I belong to all three of those groups,” she said.

She declined to identify her clients.

Heffernan expects the Austin IP practice to double in size by 2023, as the team handles litigation in the Western District’s “hugely busy docket.”

Austin’s location in the Western District is an advantage for the IP trial practice, she said, and clients want the firm to have an office in Austin.

Kirkland launched its Austin office in April 2021, and its IP trial practice in Austin three months later. A number of factors drove the IP trial expansion in Austin, including a large number of clients in Austin; the city’s location in the Western District of Texas, a booming IP jurisdiction; and a “strong talent pool” in Austin.

Kirkland partner Kat Li, an IP litigator who joined the firm in Austin in January from McKool Smith, is assisting Heffernan in building the team. Li was firmwide hiring principal at McKool Smith.

In May, another Holland & Knight IP lawyer in Dallas, associate Austin Teng, joined Kirkland as a partner in Austin.

A spokesperson for Holland & Knight did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on Haghighatian’s departure.