CMS hires former Herbert Smith Freehills senior partner

International firm CMS Cameron McKenna continues to grow its London patent practice with its second partner hire of 2022. Mark Shillito, formerly a senior partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, joins the firm after spending one year in retirement.

29 March 2022 by Amy Sandys

CMS, Mark Shillito Mark Shillito is CMS' new patent partner in London ©Dmitry Naumov/ADOBE STOCK

Mark Shillito (57) joins the London office of CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang from a senior partner position at Herbert Smith Freehills. He had initially retired from the firm in March 2021.

During his time as an IP lawyer, Shillito has enjoyed a broad practice. Around three-quarters of his work centres on disputes, with the remaining quarter covering due diligence and tech transfer. In terms of patent, his work spans both the telecommunication and life science sectors, although with a deeper focus on the latter.

Shillito spent 33 years at Herbert Smith Freehills in London, of which 25 were as partner. During this time, the firm appointed him as global head of IP for nine years. He also spent seven years as head of disputes for the firm’s UK and US offices.

Senior patent partner for CMS

CMS, Mark Shillito

Mark Shillito

Shillito’s previous clients at Herbert Smith Freehills include Japanese company Eisai, for which he helped protect two blockbuster drugs at the end of their patent life from generic launches.

He has also worked for the Medical Research Council, which coordinates and funds medical research across the UK. Other previous clients include charitable foundation Wellcome Trust, and paint and performance coating developer AkzoNobel.

Sarah Wright, head of IP at CMS, says, “Mark’s appointment is a clear indication of the firm’s ambition and commitment to investing in the growth of our IP team, and in particular in patent litigation. We are delighted he has chosen to join us.”

Currently, CMS has no senior partner in London, following the move of life-sciences specialist partner Gareth Morgan to Pinsent Masons in late 2021. Another life sciences partner Sarah Innes also moved in-house to become head of legal at Sandoz.

Mark Shillito says, “I found that what CMS offered me really chimed with my interests, especially through its broad international platform and the energy its people bring to the firm. I am delighted to join the team.”

Shillito makes three

Since losing two partners and five associates in 2021, CMS has since focused on rebuilding its practice. At the beginning of this year, Toby Sears joined the CMS IP team as a partner. Previously, he was a senior associate at Allen & Overy, where he worked for Huawei.

Now the firm’s total UK IP team comprises 17 partners, alongside 130 lawyers and patent attorneys. This includes three patent-specialist partners. The firm also has a strong trademark offering, recently hiring Ben Hitchens as a specialty trademark lawyer.