Bloomberg Law Quotes Whit Johnson and Mark Bonham on Growth in Law Firm Presence in Salt Lake City

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Intellectual property partner Whit Johnson and corporate law attorney Mark Bonham were quoted in Bloomberg Law’s Tech & Telecom Law News in article titled “‘Flyover’ No More, Silicon Slopes Becomes Where Legal Action Is,” published September 24, 2020. The article discusses how the rapid growth in startup formation in Salt Lake City – and attendant influx of venture capital – has led an increasing number of large law firms to establish a presence in the city.

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights MoneyTree Report, in the second quarter of 2020 alone, Utah had 14 venture capital investments and deals totaling $240 million. However, Johnson, chair of Stoel Rives’ technology and intellectual property group, said that though early-stage startups are looking for patent and trademark preparation services, they may not have the budgets for West Coast firms.

“Our group in Salt Lake grew very fast because our Big Tech clients were recognizing that we provide the same level of value but at a better price point,” he said.

Bonham, co-chair of Stoel Rives’ Technology & Life Sciences practice, said though the pandemic has increased the need for legal services related to the Paycheck Protection Program and employment law, it hasn’t also caused a falloff in venture funding. He noted that the firm advised a company in raising $10 million about a month ago.

“I used to hear companies complain that people were afraid to move here because they thought it was this quaint, old-fashioned state, and if the company they moved to didn’t work out, then they had no other choices,” Bonham said. “I don’t hear that anymore ... that worry seems to have gone away. People are excited to move here.”

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R. Whitney Johnson
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