In the aftermath of a breakaway that took more than 130 attorneys nationwide with it, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith equity partners elected five additional members to the management committee, including three partners from the firm’s downtown headquarters.
Additionally, that committee unanimously picked New York-based partner Gregory Katz to serve as the new managing partner for the 55-office full-service law firm.
Health care partner Kathleen Walker, general liability and national trial team partner Dana Fox, and class actions and mass tort partner Eric Kizirian — all based downtown — were elected to the committee earlier this month. They join Michael Platner from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and William Helfand from Houston.
The expansion comes in the wake of the exodus from the AmLaw 100 firm, which preceded a significant shakeup of Lewis Brisbois leadership. In the days following the breakoff — which saw around 8% of the firm’s attorney count, all in labor and employment, leave to form or join downtown-based Barber Ranen LLP — Lewis Brisbois dissolved its executive committee and announced the management committee expansion. Meanwhile, founding partner Bob Lewis stepped into a chair emeritus role.
Firm leadership characterized it as an opportunity to pull the trigger on a long-discussed recalibration of Lewis Brisbois leadership and organization. Lewis previously led the firm as chairman until he stepped down this month and paved way for a new management structure.
Katz, who is managing partner of the firm’s New York office and also a member of the management committee, is co-chair of the general liability and transportation practice. He also oversees Lewis Brisbois’ 24/7 rapid-response transportation team and its national trial practice team.
“Greg has proven himself to be an outstanding leader since he joined us 13 years ago and is clearly the right choice for this role,” Lewis said in a statement. “I believe Greg and our expanded management committee will do great things to carry on the traditions of this firm.”
The expansion of the management committee solidifies the Los Angeles office’s influence on Lewis Brisbois. Together with the committee’s current L.A. partners of Lewis, Craig Holden, Jana Lubert and Steven Lewis, seven of the 15 members are based here. Lubert and Steven Lewis are co-managing partners of the flagship downtown office.
Factoring in Rima Badawiya from San Bernardino, Charles Harris from Orange County and co-chairman Bob Smith in San Diego, two-thirds of Lewis Brisbois leadership is based in Southern California.