Attorney Michael I. Wayne of Gibbs Giden Locher & Turner LLP spends his days litigating construction and commercial cases and his nights raising money for cancer research.

Wayne is a grandson of Western film legend John Wayne, who died of lung and stomach cancer in 1979. His family started what is now known as the John Wayne Cancer Foundation in 1981 and since then it has raised millions of dollars for cancer research, treatment and education.

Michael Wayne works primarily on fundraising for the group, which operates with a budget of about $20 million a year.

For Michael Wayne, the foundation's success has the added bonus of contributing to the legacy of his grandfather, who became an American icon in the course of his 50-year film career.

"He was really a larger-than-life person," said Wayne, who describes the rest of his family as very private. "I got to spend time with him on location. In Newport I would sit on his lap all day while he played backgammon. About half the things he said you'd want to write down."

He also remembers eating dinner with his grandfather in restaurants and the constant stream of fans coming by for an autograph or a photo.

"My dad used to say that he never ate a warm meal at a restaurant in his life," he said.

Although the foundation is now affiliated with St. John's Health Center, it remains a family affair. Michael's father, Patrick Wayne, is chairman of the board.

Writing on the Wall

Artist and muralist Kent Twitchell filed suit against contractors West Coast General Corp. and others last week, claiming intentional desecration of a work of fine art, among other grievances.

Twitchell's mural, "The Edward Rusha Monument," was painted over in June as part of a refurbishing. The mural, which the artist worked on from 1978 to 1987, is six stories high and takes up 10,000 square feet on the side of the Los Angeles Job Corps Facilities at 1031 South Hill St. in downtown Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Labor owns the building.

Long-time friend Les Weinstein of Sheldon & Mak P.C., a Pasadena intellectual property firm, represents Twitchell, who is seeking $5.5 million in damages.

West Coast General did not return calls for comment.

"I now have an obligation to the community, my fellow artists and my sense of self respect to see that the actions I'm initiating against those responsible for this reckless act of official governmental vandalism may bring an end to all too frequent mindlessness," Twitchell said. "I also hope it brings an awareness to the plight of endangered public art."

This isn't the first time Twitchell has fought for one his murals. He reached an out-of-court settlement in the late 1970s after a builder erected an office in front of "The Old Freeway Lady," which was located at Temple Street, just off the Hollywood Freeway downtown. The battle galvanized the L.A. arts community, which rallied around the painter.

High Honors

Steven B. Yankelevitz, name partner at regional powerhouse Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif LLP, has been awarded the 2006 Matthew T. Robinson Award for Courage from the HollyRod Foundation. The organization is devoted to providing medical, physical and emotional support to people suffering from Parkinson's disease.

"It was a mixed feeling," Yankelevitz said. "On one hand it was nice to win the award, on the other hand, I won for having Parkinson's and being able to effectively cope with ongoing progression of the disease in a stoic fashion. I'd rather get an award for a hole-in-one."

Yankelevitz was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1996, shortly after he and his partners started the firm, which is now highly regarded for its work in construction litigation, class actions and real estate. They are one of L.A.'s largest firms with about 88 lawyers and are one of the few remaining independently owned players in the region.

Actress Holly Robison Peete and her husband, former USC and NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, started the foundation in 1997. Peete's father succumbed to Parkinson's. The award puts Yankelevitz in some impressive company: Muhammed Ali is a past honoree.

Movers and Shakers

Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz LLP, a firm specializing in intellectual property, opened in January and is continuing to expand. Three lawyers have joined the firm: Scott R. Miller comes from Bingham McCutchen LLP, where he was a partner in IP litigation and transactional groups; Manuel C. Nelson, an intellectual property attorney with a background in electrical engineering, comes from Hogan & Hartson LLP where he was of counsel; Minda R. Schechter, another new of counsel, is from Hogan as well. Latham & Watkins LLP mobilized to advise Loudeye Corp. as the digital media firm was acquired by Nokia Corp. Partners Alex Voxman and Robert O'Shea led the team, with associates Christopher Pflug and Ryan Berry. Partner Laurence Stein and associate Jason Choi advised on tax matters, partner James D.C. Barrall on benefits and compensation. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP lawyers recently represented Westco Aircraft Hardware Corp. as the majority of the company was acquired by private equity firm the Carlyle Group. Jonathan Layne led the team, which included Ruth Fisher, Hatef Behnia, John Filippone, Dora Arash, Paytre Topp and Marshall Watson. Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP is welcoming back Charulata B. Pagar, an advertising, marketing, media and trade regulation lawyer, as a partner. She was most recently with the Federal Trade Commission.

Staff reporter Emily Bryson York can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235, or at

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