Snell & Wilmer Continues Growth in Southern California With New San Diego Office

Snell & Wilmer is pleased to announce the opening of a new location in San Diego. Partners Jeffrey D. Morton and Steffi Gascón Hafen relocated to San Diego this month to lead the firm’s efforts to further establish its presence in the region. San Diego becomes the firm’s third location in California, joining Los Angeles and Orange County.

“The success Snell & Wilmer has enjoyed over the decades is due in part to our ability to establish offices in growing cities with strong and expanding business communities,” said Matthew Feeney, chair of Snell & Wilmer. “We are excited about this new opportunity for the firm in San Diego and are confident Jeff and Steffi will excel as they embrace their new roles and responsibilities.”

“San Diego is one of the top biotech centers in the United States,” added Feeney. “As a result, we intend to initially focus on biotech IP and associated practice areas. However, as a relationship-based firm, we take a deep interest in and work to fully understand our clients’ businesses, industries and legal issues, and will look closely at opportunities that help us better serve our clients across all sectors.”

Morton represents start-up and large enterprises for their intellectual property, technology and commercial law needs. His practice focuses on all aspects of intellectual property and technology law, with particular experience in the life sciences industry. Morton has significant patent prosecution experience in a wide range of technologies, including immunotherapeutics for treating diabetes, HIV and cancer, and DNA sequencing methods and related devices. He earned a J.D. from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law and has a Ph.D. in immunology from Washington University School of Medicine.

“Snell & Wilmer continually looks for strategic growth opportunities,” said Morton. “With approximately 3.1 million residents in the Greater San Diego area, a diverse population, a strong economy, outstanding educational institutions, the nation’s largest military community and a talented workforce, San Diego is an ideal place to do business. We are excited at the opportunities and tangible value this move provides to the firm and our clients.”

Hafen, who began her legal career in San Diego, has an LL.M. in taxation and is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. Her practice is concentrated in tax, trust, and estate matters with an emphasis in estate planning, business succession planning, charitable planning, and trust and probate administration and litigation, as well as state and local taxation. Hafen represents clients in court and in front of various tax agencies from the Internal Revenue Service to the county assessor. Her practice can help technology companies and others address the planning and compliance issues of a maturing sector. She earned a J.D. from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law.

“I am honored to be a part of Snell & Wilmer’s strategic expansion,” said Hafen. “We believe an ideal way to serve our clients is to have a formal presence in the regions in which they live and work. Establishing a broader geographic footprint in Southern California enables us to help clients solve problems, achieve opportunities and deal efficiently and effectively with an ever-changing economic, business and legal landscape.”

Hafen relocates from the firm’s Orange County office, while Morton had previously split his time between both Phoenix and Orange County. Both attorneys will keep a presence in Orange County and Phoenix, respectively, and will continue to serve clients in both locations. The office opening comes on the heels of the expansion of the firm’s Orange County office earlier this year through a combination with West Coast commercial finance and creditors’ rights law firm Assayag v Mauss. This move brought eight lawyers to Snell & Wilmer, enhancing the firm’s commercial finance and litigation footprint in Orange County and expanding its geographic reach into the Pacific Northwest with offices in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.

Snell & Wilmer’s San Diego office is located at 4320 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 205, San Diego, CA 92122. As with all of the firm’s locations, the San Diego office is temporarily under a remote work model as a result of COVID-19.