Another national law firm has opened an office in Los Angeles. Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll LLP of Philadelphia set up shop downtown last week with two attorneys from the local office of Baker & Hostetler LLP.

Ballard Spahr has been steadily expanding its presence in the western United States over the past two years. While the firm has had outposts in Denver and Salt Lake City for more than two decades, in 2006 it opened offices in Phoenix and Las Vegas. And now the firm's western road trip has reached Los Angeles.

Attorneys Scott Preston and Letvia Arza-Goderich joined Ballard Spahr as partner and of counsel, respectively. And they will soon be joined by David Sampson, the managing partner of Baker & Hostetler's Los Angeles office.

All three are real estate attorneys whose practices focus on resort development and the hospitality industry.

Preston and Arza-Goderich focus specifically on international resorts. The pair's clients have included the Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts, which has properties in Puerto Vallarta and other resort locales in Mexico, and the vacation club, Royal Holiday.

Preston said he decided to join Ballard Spahr because it has a premiere hospitality and resorts practice. "They were very eager to have us join and to assist with the international hospitality work they already have and to bring the international work we have," he added.

The attorneys were also drawn by the opportunity serve as the core of Ballard Spahr's California expansion.

"Ballard has been interested in California for a while." Preston said. "We are really excited that our real estate and resorts practice will be their first venture into California."

While Ballard Spahr is making its debut downtown, Baker & Hostetler will be making its exit.

The firm is consolidating its Los Angeles presence in an office in West Los Angeles. Baker & Hostetler gained the Westside outpost when a group of attorneys from one of the local offices of the defunct Jenkens & Gilchrist PC joined the firm.

IP Specialist

Mark Scarsi, an intellectual property partner at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, has left the firm to join the Los Angeles office of New York-based Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP, it was announced last week.

"We are thrilled to have Mark join us, as he will provide key leadership on the West Coast for our IP litigation practice," said Mel Immergut, chairman of Milbank Tweed, in a written statement.


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