National litigation firm Hogan & Hartson LLP has consolidated its downtown and Century City locations into one 50-lawyer office in Century City.

The firm simultaneously hired Irell & Manella LLP's prominent intellectual property lawyer Rich de Bodo to head its West Coast IP practice and spearhead efforts to grow it.

"What really did it for me was the opportunity to take on a leadership role in IP and to work with a great group of people here in L.A. and throughout the country," de Bodo said.

De Bodo's move had experts buzzing. A star from one of the country's most respected IP firms jumping ship to grow a practice elsewhere and taking much of his highly-coveted client portfolio with him is a big deal in the market. For de Bodo, who operated in the shadow of superstar Morgan Chu (TiVo) at Irell & Manella, it's a chance to step out and make a name for himself.

As for the office move, Hogan & Hartson Los Angeles Managing Partner Neil O'Hanlon said the motive was to get all the local attorneys under one roof, rather than cutting costs.

"It was primarily for practice reasons," O'Hanlon said. "One major component of what we do is entertainment and media, and the Westside connection made a lot of sense, being close to our clients and historically those practices have been found there. With our representation of clients in the industry, it's close to being essential."

Entertainment law powerhouses Christensen Glaser Fink Jacobs Weil & Shapiro LLP and Greenberg Glusker LLP are both based in Century City.

New arrivals Goodwin Procter LLP and Miller Barondess LLP have both set up shop in Century City within the last few months. International firm Foley & Lardner LLP's only L.A. office is in Century City.

Hogan found itself with two L.A. offices as a result of a 2002 merger with Squadron Ellenoff. Hogan had the downtown office and Squadron had the Westside location. The two leases expired within about a year, and so the firm chose face-to-face interaction over constant video conferencing.

Going, Going
While would-be homebuyers are scanning the real estate section for foreclosures, a handful of lawyers are quietly busying themselves with bankruptcy auctions.

It's not the wide array of distressed assets up for grabs but rather the amount of money chasing deals that is driving the surge in activity, said Peter Gilhuly, a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP.


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