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Irell Elects Two New Partners


Irell & Manella LLP announces the election of Michael Harbour and Elizabeth Tuan to the firm’s partnership, effective January 1, 2021. Harbour handles a wide range of complex civil litigation, and Tuan focuses primarily on patent litigation. Both are based in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

“We couldn’t be more proud and excited to welcome these two very talented lawyers to the firm’s partnership,” said Ben Hattenbach, a member of Irell’s executive committee. “Both Michael and Elizabeth are accomplished litigators, wonderful human beings and exemplary firm citizens who have earned the trust of both clients and colleagues.”

Harbour’s practice encompasses complex civil disputes in diverse areas of law including class action defense, media and entertainment litigation, intellectual property disputes and securities litigation. He has also represented clients in precedent-setting appeals in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Harbour was on the team that recently persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to unanimously side with NantKwest, Inc. and reject the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) position that applicants who appeal to a district court must pay the agency’s legal bills, regardless of who wins. He was also a member of the Irell teams that secured a dismissal with prejudice of a securities fraud class action against Uber and resolved another class action over Uber’s Safe Rides fee.

Harbour graduated, cum laude, in 2013 from Harvard Law School, where he received The Project for the Foundations of Private Law writing prize. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2010 from Vanderbilt University and his B.A., with highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from Emory University in 2004. Before joining Irell, Harbour clerked for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Tuan focuses on patent litigation across a wide range of industries, including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. She was a key member of the trial team that secured Juno Therapeutics and Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research a $1.2 billion judgment and the largest U.S. patent verdict of 2019. Her practice also includes representing clients in post-grant proceedings challenging the validity of issued patents before the USPTO and in appeals in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Named to the Southern California Rising Stars list, Tuan was selected as a Pathfinder for the 2020 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a program designed to help a new and more diverse generation of attorneys ascend to leadership positions. She also maintains an active pro bono practice. As a junior associate, Tuan successfully argued on behalf of pro bono clients in front of the California Court of Appeal, which affirmed the decision of the trial court denying a petition to compel arbitration in a breach of contract suit.

Tuan earned her J.D. in 2013 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was an editorial board member of the Virginia Law Review. She obtained her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009.

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