What a difference a year makes.

Around this time last year, Westside law firms Christensen Glaser Fink Jacobs Weil & Shapiro LLP and Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP were both still reeling from the departures of several lawyers, including name partners.

Former Christensen Glaser name partner Skip Miller left the firm in May 2006 and would eventually hang his own shingle, and the following month Greenberg Glusker name partner Dale Kinsella and nine other lawyers left that firm to set up their own shop.

The departures were widely seen as related to the racketeering and wiretapping federal investigation of celebrity private investigator Anthony Pellicano, which had already ensnared Terry Christensen, the managing partner of Christensen Glaser, who was indicted along with the sleuth in February 2006.

Many in Los Angeles' legal community thought it was only a matter of time before Bert Fields, Greenberg Glusker's top rainmaker and arguably Pellicano's No. 1 client, was also caught up in the probe. Lawyers and recruiters doubted the firms would survive the turmoil.

A year later they have more than survived, although it might be too much to say they are thriving. At both firms, a few graying partners are responsible for a disproportionately large percentage of revenues.

But the firms have certainly returned to a stable footing, as witnessed by recent lateral partner additions. Fields has never been charged with a crime and the threat of more indictments or further fallout from the Pellicano investigation is clearly waning.

Over the past four months Greenberg Glusker has added four new lateral partners. The most recent addition is Johnny Darnell Griggs, an employment and litigation attorney, who joined from Strategic Counsel, where he represented clients such as the Forum, and David Brewer, superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District.

"The opportunity to practice at Greenberg Glusker prompted my move," Griggs said. "It is an exemplary firm with a practice deeply rooted in Los Angeles, as is mine."

Other additions to the firm have included intellectual property attorneys Rami Yanni and Steven Weinberg and real estate attorney James Hughes.

But Christensen Glaser has possibly scored the biggest lateral hire of the bunch, with addition of litigation attorney Brian Lysaght, who was previously a partner at DLA Piper LLP, where he headed the firm's West Coast litigation practice. Over the course of his more than 20-year career, Lysaght has practiced both as a white collar criminal defense attorney and commercial litigator. According to a release announcing the move he has won over $70 million in jury awards for his clients.


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