Fish & Richardson announced today that John Adkisson has been named the firm’s President-elect and Chief Executive Officer. Adkisson replaces Peter J. Devlin, who is stepping down from his President/CEO role after 20 years of strategic leadership. Adkisson, who is a principal in the firm’s Twin Cities office and an elected member of the firm’s Management Committee, was nominated after a yearlong selection and succession planning process. Adkisson was elected by a vote of the firm’s principals on Feb. 20.
Adkisson assumes the firm’s top management role at a time when the firm is in its strongest position ever, both reputationally and financially. Fish had its most successful year in 2019, with a record $472 million in revenue – an increase of nearly 10% over the previous year.
“We are incredibly grateful for Peter’s leadership over the past two decades,” said Adkisson. “I am personally thankful for the professional and thoughtful way he has approached this transition process. He has done it with the same grace and selflessness that defined his tenure at Fish.”
Adkisson joined Fish in 2001 and has been a trial attorney for 24 years, specializing in patent infringement litigation with an emphasis on pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. He has served as the Managing Group Leader for the firm’s 200-plus lawyer litigation group for the past three years. Although the role of President and CEO will require a serious time commitment, Adkisson plans to maintain his litigation practice.
“I love litigating patent cases. I also think it’s important that the firm president be in the trenches doing all the tasks that our practicing lawyers face every day – navigating conflicts, entering time, managing budgets, and hearing client concerns,” added Adkisson. “I believe this will help me be a stronger leader.”
Adkisson will continue to foster Fish’s culture of innovation and teamwork, which has led to the firm leading the industry in offering clients cost savings through fixed and other alternative fee arrangements. Fish’s collaborative client teams include the firm’s first-in-class trial lawyers and patent prosecutors. Fish is not only the top patent litigation firm in the country – handling more cases in district court, at the ITC and at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit than any other firm – but also the most active firm at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
“No firm is better than Fish at helping clients take advantage of these combined litigation and PTAB strategies to achieve their offensive and defensive patent litigation objectives,” said Adkisson.
Adkisson also plans to keep capitalizing on the firm’s global reach – through Fish’s offices in Munich, Germany and Shenzhen, China – for clients outside the U.S, one of the fastest-growing segments of the firm’s practice. “Fish is a perfect match for large multinational clients because of our lawyers’ deep expertise handling high-stakes international cases that span multiple jurisdictions,” added Adkisson. “We will be investing significantly in our international work over the next decade.”
Another priority for Adkisson is the firm’s longtime focus on fostering the next generation of trial lawyers and its ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts. Fish’s 1L Diversity Fellowship Program has provided annual fellowships to diverse first-year law students throughout the country for 15 years. Last month, Fish was recognized as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. In 2019, Fish earned the Diversity Lab’s top Mansfield 2.0 Certified Plus designation for successfully considering at least 30% diverse lawyer representation in current leadership roles and committees. Fish was one of the 26 inaugural law firms to become Mansfield 1.0 Certified Plus and is participating in the current Mansfield 3.0 program. In 2019, Fish was named a “Best Law Firm for Women” by Working Mother magazine for the second consecutive year.
“I have been fortunate to be involved in the training and development of our next-gen lawyers for many years, as well as our diversity and inclusion initiatives, and am looking forward to continuing this important work,” said Adkisson. “I am honored to be stepping into this role and excited to work with our firm’s attorneys and clients to ensure everyone receives the outstanding support and service they have come to expect from Fish.”
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