Irell Elects Abernethy, Swanson and Washburn as Partners

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December 2017

Irell & Manella LLP has elected Christopher Abernethy, Paul Swanson and Ian Washburn to the firm's partnership, effective January 1, 2018. Abernethy and Washburn are both litigators, while Swanson is a member of the transactions group. All three are based in the firm's Los Angeles office.

"We're proud and excited to welcome Chris, Paul and Ian to the partnership," said incoming Irell & Manella Managing Partner Ellisen S. Turner. "All three are accomplished lawyers with exceptional careers, in addition to being all-around great human beings and exemplary firm citizens."

Abernethy focuses on intellectual property and patent litigation, and his practice also includes inter partes review and other contested patent office proceedings, IP licensing and transactions, and IP due diligence during mergers and acquisitions. He has represented clients before multiple federal courts, the International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Abernethy was most recently on the team that secured a $506-million judgment for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation following a patent infringement trial against Apple Inc. In 2017, he was named to the Southern California Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers.

In addition to his practice, Abernethy regularly writes and speaks on topics relating to patent law. He has taught the semester-long patent law course at Loyola Law School and guest lectured on patent issues at Stanford Law School, Berkeley Law School and the UCLA School of Law. Within the firm, Abernethy has been involved with both attorney recruiting and development, including serving on the hiring and summer committees.

Abernethy earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was a senior editor of the Stanford Law Review, and his B.S., cum laude, in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. Prior to joining Irell & Manella, Abernethy clerked for the Honorable Timothy B. Dyk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

Swanson counsels clients with respect to corporate, intellectual property and entertainment-related transactions. He represents leading investment banks, producers and entertainment lenders in arranging and administering numerous multi-tranche debt and equity motion picture credit facilities. Swanson has participated in media-related merger and acquisition and securitization transactions, with a specific focus on identifying and resolving intellectual property-related issues. He recently represented Opus Bank in its 2016 deal to be named the official bank and exclusive sponsor of the Pac-12 Conference, and he also represented Bank of America in a $100-million-plus securitization financing deal for a reality and scripted TV producer.

Swanson has been honored by Variety in its 2016 Dealmakers Impact Report, which recognized the lawyers behind the most important entertainment industry deals of the year. In addition to his practice, he serves on the firm's Hiring Committee.

Swanson earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where he was an editor of the UCLA Entertainment Law Review, and his B.A., magna cum laude, in Psychology from Saint John's University. 

Washburn focuses on intellectual property and complex business litigation, and his practice also includes patent post-grant proceedings. He has represented clients in numerous federal courts as well as before the Patent and Trademark Office, the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court of Arbitration, and the Delaware Court of Chancery.

Washburn's experience spans a variety of industries, including the biomedical, pharmaceutical, semiconductor and semiconductor packaging, and computer networking industries, as well as universities. He also advises companies during patent license negotiations and advises on technology development and commercialization. Most recently, Washburn has represented companies such as Genentech, Yahoo and Marvell Semiconductor in a mix of intellectual property and business litigation nationwide.

Washburn graduated Order of the Coif from Berkeley Law School, where he was the articles editor of the Ecology Law Quarterly. He earned his B.A., with distinction, in Chinese Language and Literature from Yale College. Between college and law school, Washburn worked at a New York-based global investment management firm.