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LA Firms Stay Competitive as Laterals Seek 'Known Quantity'

Los Angeles, CA.

Los Angeles (Photo: blvdone/Shutterstock.com)

Los Angeles has been a hot lateral hiring market for firms based all over the country, but local firms with deep roots in the city are still making their own strategic moves.

LA-based Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro and Loeb & Loeb both announced additions in Los Angeles in recent weeks. Meanwhile, moves by non-LA-based firms continued, as Rimon, Jackson Lewis and McDermott Will & Emery made hires.

Glaser Weil announced last week that it hired Thomas Hanley III from Loeb & Loeb as a partner in its real estate department. Hanley, who is based in the firm’s Century City office, has been practicing in the greater Los Angeles area for nearly four decades. He is also a third-generation LA native.

“I am a known quantity, and I wanted my platform to be a known quantity in the marketplace,” Hanley said. He said he got phone calls from headhunters representing nonlocal firms, but he wanted to join Glaser Weil because of its long-established presence in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1988, Glaser Weil has gained notice in part due to litigation head Patricia Glaser's headline-grabbing clients. They include Papa John's founder John Schnatter as he fights against his removal from the pizza chain’s board of directors and Harvey Weinstein in his battle against the company he founded with his brother, as well as clients like Miley Cyrus, Paula Deen, Kirk Kerkorian and Conan O’Brien.

Hanley noted that while nonlocal firms have expanded in Los Angeles, large local firms are growing outside of the LA area. Prior to joining Glaser Weil, Hanley was a partner at Los Angeles-headquartered Loeb & Loeb for over six years.

“When I started in the practice, LA was much more of a headquarters town,” Hanley said. “It is really not now. It is turning more and more into outposts for major corporations."

Glaser Weil, however, has also been a victim of eager lateral hiring by out-of-town firms in the region.

After Adrian Pruetz, former chairwoman of Glaser’s IP department, retired from the firm last year, two other IP partners, Van Loon and Andrew Choung, left for Kansas City-based Lathrop Gage.

That practice also lost partner Rex Hwang to Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell in October. But later in the fall, Glaser Weil hired Lawrence Hadley from McKool Smith to rebuild the group.


More LA Moves

Hanley's former firm, Loeb & Loeb, also made a recent hire in LA, adding Los Angeles partner Eric Lee, who had been an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Loeb & Loeb, which saw its revenue jump by 12.6 percent last year, is one of the locally based firms that has grown outside its home base. The firm maintains a significant presence in New York with about 144 lawyers there.

“With Loeb’s strong presence in LA, they just have a great platform to really build the practice in LA,” Lee said, noting that he was also drawn to the opportunity to work with Arash Khalili, co-chair of the firm’s capital markets and corporate department, to expand his practice.

Lee focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and general corporate matters. In a statement welcoming Lee, Khalili said, “Eric’s depth of experience and industry knowledge will be a tremendous benefit to the firm and our clients.”

In addition to Lee, Loeb & Loeb also recently added of trusts and estates partner Tricia Ring from Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco and former Perkins Coie real estate and hospitality partner Tara Gorman to its Washington, D.C., office.

Meanwhile, nonlocal firms continue to bolster their presence in Los Angeles.

In early April fast-growing Bay Area-based Rimon added Los Angeles-based corporate finance partner Sam Miller from Arent Fox, where he was co-head of the firm’s blockchain group.

“Rimon stood out for both the quality and depth of the attorneys on its team and its service offering, particularly in the corporate and technology space, coupled with its ability to offer a refreshing model for supporting and servicing client needs in an efficient and flexible manner," Miller said in a statement. "What Rimon has managed to achieve in a relatively short time is impressive."

Miller’s practice is focused on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance, including cross-border transactions. He previously served as North American lead in-house counsel to Kloeckner Metals Corp., a steel and metal distributor based in Roswell, Georgia.

New York-based Jackson Lewis also announced earlier this month that it hired former Venable of counsel Jean Yu, as a partner in its employee benefits practice group. Before joining Venable in 2012, Yu practiced for five years at Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

Another former Venable partner, Elizabeth Glasgow, made a move to Chicago-based McDermott Will & Emery's Los Angeles office.

Glasgow will team up with McDermott’s West Coast private client partners, including Nicole Pearl and Michael Rosen-Prinz, to serve clients in the entertainment, film and technology industries, according to the firm. She is also licensed to practice in New York.

“I have worked with high-net-worth families and individuals in both California and New York, and I’m confident that my experience will complement McDermott’s coast-to-coast—and world renowned—private client offerings,” Glasgow said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Northern California, McDermott recently suffered a loss as Marisa Chun, who formerly headed the firm’s litigation group in the Bay Area, left to join Crowell & Moring’s San Francisco office.

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