Two years ago, mortgage-backed securities started losing their value as home loan borrowers couldn't make their payments when their teaser rates ticked up.

This means the time is at hand for covered bonds. These are securities backed by cash assets from mortgages or public sector loans. Covered bonds are considered less risky than mortgage-backed securities because the mortgages remain on the bank's balance sheet rather than being sold onto the market as securities.

As a result of this trend, Los Angeles-based Buchalter Nemer LLP is launching a covered bonds practice group to help the firm's real estate clients navigate the financial structure of covered bonds.

The new group, made up of lawyers from the firm's real estate, tax, business practices and financial solutions departments, will work with clients to establish proper procedures for the purchase of covered bonds.

L.A. partners Joshua Mogin and Michael Williamson are co-heading the group.

Although Buchalter Nemer has started the group to serve clients from residential real estate industry, Williamson and Mogin said the firm is also expecting that covered bonds will become part of the commercial real estate sector.

"Two years ago, commercial mortgage-backed securities were one of the predominant sources of financing for office, retail and industrial loans," Williamson said. "When the securitization market dried up, those sources of funds dried up. And the next logical step is to apply covered bonds to the commercial real estate finance market."

Solo Appeal

Los Angeles lawyer Daniel Koes has been practicing appellate law his entire 10-year legal career at two L.A. firms.

Now he's opening his own appellate firm, the Law Offices of Daniel J. Koes.

"The main reason I started my own firm was to be able to handle cases that I want to handle, and to be able to offer clients the service of handling an appeal from the beginning," Koes said.

Koes left Minnesota in 1997 after graduating from law school and interned at the California Court of Appeals in Los Angeles. After passing the bar, he started working at litigation boutique Robie & Matthai LLP.

"It was a little bit of a struggle to come to L.A. and try to find a job in the appellate field right away," Koes said. "It was hard to find a firm that would allow someone the opportunity to do appellate work."

So far, Koes has made a career out of doing solely appellate work. He is handling an appeal for financial planning and investment firm Universal Trading & Investment Co.

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