Passed over for the U.S. Attorney's post in L.A., Richard Drooyan, one of the top securities lawyers in Los Angeles, is expected to step down as chief assistant U.S. attorney, a spokesman for the office confirmed last week.

Nora Manella, the current U.S. attorney here, will officially vacate her post on Dec. 21. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has chosen Asst. U.S. Attorney Alejandro Mayorkas as her successor, subject to approval by the U.S. Senate and the president.

Drooyan, no doubt worth seven figures in the private sector, is said to be mulling offers. "I anticipate he will be leaving this office," said U.S. Attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek. Drooyan could not be reached for comment.

So how good is Drooyan? Put it this way: When Michael Milken was under legal attack in 1991 and had the money to hire any lawyer he wanted, he chose Drooyan, then with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in downtown Los Angeles, to represent him in a very ticklish securities arbitration case.

Drooyan engineered a defense that thwarted charges by a former Milken associate that the associate had introduced Milken to Fred Carr, then chief of insurance giant Executive Life, and contractually was entitled to commissions and interest on years of major transactions. Milken didn't pay the commissions, and prevailed in NASD-sanctioned arbitration proceedings.

Highly regarded in both the private sector and within the U.S. Attorney's Office, Drooyan's departure and where he chooses to alight are being closely watched by the local securities bar.

Going postal

Santa Monica-based Stampmaster Inc., an Internet company that allows small companies to print out their own postage stamps on personal computer printers, was voted "Best of the Show" at the recent VentureNet 98 held by the Software Council of Southern California, a trade group of software, multimedia and Internet companies.

But venture capitalists need not knock on Stampmaster's doors it is already well-financed by some big players in the local venture community, including West Los Angeles-based Brentwood Venture Capital, Los Angeles-based Enterprise Partners, and Orange County-based Forest Binkley Brown.

Stampmaster allows small and medium-sized companies to create an account with the Postal Service, assigning them a bar code that can be printed onto company envelopes. Postal Service bar-code readers will accept the "stamps" printed out with Stampmaster software and charge the company's account for the cost of postage.

"You just download software from our Web site, for free." said John Payne, president and chief executive of the 3-year-old Stampmaster, which has 35 employees and is shooting for 50 by early 1999. "If you are a small company that mails 10 pieces a day, you are our target market."

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