Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog

DLA Piper

May 1, 2015

In an effort to further the region’s global competitiveness, a delegation of San Diego business leaders will be heading to London next week to increase existing synergies between one of San Diego’s most important international partners.  Building on existing relationships, the delegation will host the London premiere of National Geographic’s “World’s Smart Cities: San Diego” documentary, meet with key companies with San Diego ties, and promote opportunities in industries that matter most to San Diego’s competitiveness such as life sciences and connected health.

The San Diego – London ties run deep. Findings from the Go Global San Diego Initiative, released in March 2015, confirmed just how intertwined the two regions' economies are.  Collectively, the U.K. accounts form 25 percent of all foreign employment, or 12,340 jobs in San Diego. Some of these major London-based companies with San Diego ties include BAE Systems, Cobham, GlaxoSmithKline and Mirum. San Diego is also home to Cubic, a transportation innovator that powers London’s OysterCard system.

Key agenda highlights from the mission include a UC Alumni Event Showcase, where UC San Diego Dean Al Pisano will lead a discussion with UC alumni working and living in London to activate stronger ties in the life sciences, telecommunications, cybersecurity and software engineering sectors. The delegation will participate on a joint panel about driving down the cost of healthcare (arranged by Biocom and its UK counterpart, OneNucleus) and visit “The Catapult,” London’s urban innovation lab that aims to strengthen quality of life, economies and the environment in cities around the globe. While overseas, the delegation will also meet with key partners and companies including the U.S. Embassy in London, British Airways, BAE and Ebsta.

The trip builds off exciting exchanges between the two regions. London is the first international city to join the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint project between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, which works to help leaders reorient their economies towards greater engagement in world markets. San Diego has been a member of the GCI since Fall 2012. This affiliation has incubated a strong relationship with London + Partners, the economic development arm of the city of London. In February, Mayor Faulconer joined London Mayor Boris Johnson at the Brookings Institution  in D.C. to discuss how these two regions can strengthen their global connections.

The delegation includes:

  • Al Pisano, Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego
  • Andrew Lee, President & CEO, ESET
  • Diane Law, Parachute Marketing
  • George Guerra, Vice President, HALE Enterprise Strategic Ventures, Northrop Grumman
  • Hampton Brown, Director, Air Service Development, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Iris Magid, Director of Industry Engagement and University Relations, UC San Diego
  • Jennifer Landress, Senior Vice President & COO, Biocom
  • Joe Terzi, President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Joe Timko, Director of Public Relations, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Julian Parra, Senior Vice President & Market Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Kerri Kapich, Senior Vice President of Marketing, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Neva Parker, Head of Laboratory Operations, WhiteLabs
  • Phil Blair, President & CEO, Manpower San Diego & Chair, San Diego Convention Center
  • Robert Brownlie, Managing Partner, DLA Piper & Vice President, UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors
  • Robert Gleason, Chairman of the Board, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • The Honorable Scott Peters, Congressman (CA 52)
  • Sean Barr, Vice President, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Shelley Lyford, COO, West Health Institute & President, Gary & Mary West Foundation
  • Thella Bowens, President & CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Vince Mudd, Chair, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • William Burfitt, Executive Director of Development, UC San Diego

If you’re a company that wants to increase its engagement with foreign markets – such as London – apply for the MetroConnect prize. Thanks to the generosity of JPMorgan Chase, EDC is providing select San Diego-based companies with up to $10,000 in matching funds to help with each company’s next steps in going global. The deadline is Monday at noon.  

Follow the conversation at

March 17, 2015


Qualcomm. ThermoFisher (formerly Life Technologies).  BD BioSciences  (formerly CareFusion). These are some of San Diego’s most globally-recognized companies. They create products and innovations that are changing the world. But that’s not the only thing they have in common: each of these companies has also worked with DLA Piper – one of San Diego’s most recognized law firms. Although DLA Piper represents companies from a variety of industries, they focus on serving San Diego’s dynamic high tech and life sciences sectors.
This week we spoke with Robert Brownlie, managing partner in DLA Piper San Diego, to learn more about how they interact with some of San Diego’s most prominent companies and are helping to cement the region’s global identity. 
1) Tell us about DLA Piper.
DLA Piper LLP (US) is a global law firm with deep San Diego roots.  In 2005, San Diego’s Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye combined with the US firm Piper Rudnick and the international firm DLA to create DLA Piper.  
Our history in San Diego dates back to 1927 with the establishment of Gray Cary by Gordon Gray (a cousin of President Woodrow Wilson) and Judge William Cary.  The firm quickly grew into San Diego’s largest, with a heavy emphasis on litigation and a client list including both leading San Diego-headquartered companies and Fortune 500 companies.  Throughout our history, our lawyers have made a significant impact on San Diego – from Gordon Gray’s work in the founding of the San Diego Zoological Society to Jay Rains’ efforts in bringing the US Open to Torrey Pines.
Today, we represent a wide range of San Diego companies, including promising startups and the region’s largest companies in multi-national deals and cases.
2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?
Why DLA Piper Chose San Diego with quote San Diego’s location and entrepreneurial spirit provide major advantages for our practice in San Diego.  For a global law firm, San Diego provides a strategic location at the crossroads for the Pacific Rim where US businesses and investors can come together with businesses and investors from Asia, Latin American and Europe.  We have been able to assist San Diego companies with transactions all over the globe.
Economic growth is as vital to law firms as it is to any other aspect of the economy.  San Diego’s entrepreneurial spirit, fed by institutions, like UC San Diego, and visionary business leaders, provide a strong engine for economic growth to compete with other markets.  We are fortunate to be positioned to assist with that growth by advising the region’s entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies.
3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
Qualcomm has made itself into a global leader in wireless communications.  Through constant innovation, Qualcomm has managed to stay on top.  It has done this through terrific leadership and a commitment to hiring and retaining the most talented individuals.  It has also redefined itself seamlessly as wireless technology and the industry has evolved.  Few companies anywhere have been as influential or innovative as Qualcomm.
4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
Since DLA Piper was formed, it has grown into the world’s largest law firm, with 4,200 lawyers in offices throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.   However, being big is not the goal.  Our goal is to continue to efficiently provide top quality legal services to innovative companies locally and around the globe.  The evolution of DLA’s San Diego offices are representative of that goal.  
For the San Diego region, we anticipate becoming more global and continuing to catalyze leading technology.  The mega-region represented by San Diego County, Imperial County, and northern Baja California is a competitive advantage to addressing the increasingly global and complex business needs of our companies in our region.  In addition to geography, our region will continue to lead in life sciences, wireless communications, data analytics, UAV’s, clean energy, and more.  If we continue to harness these advantages, San Diego can become one of the leading regions in the world over the next 5 years.