For Buchalter Nemer PC, the lateral move gods both giveth and taketh away.
Earlier this month, two film finance attorneys left the Los Angeles-based firm to join the local office of Bingham McCutchen LLP. But not long after those departures, three appellate attorneys joined the firm.
"The practice of law has changed since I became a lawyer and now moves among law firms are much more common," said Bernard LeSage, chair of litigation at Buchatler Nemer, commenting on the additions and defections. "If you look at any law firm of any size there are going to be comings and goings."
While legal industry leaders accept that there will be a constant flow of attorneys, most firms prefer to have more comings than goings. For now, Buchatler Nemer can claim to be up by one.
Attorneys Harry Chamberlain, Robert Dato and Efrat Cogan joined the firm from Theodora Oringher Miller & Richman PC. The lawyers have worked together for more than a decade representing clients in appeals and other post trial matters. Chamberlain and Dato join the firm as shareholders in Los Angeles and Orange County, respectively. Cogan joins the firm as a senior counsel in Los Angeles.
"They were and are super high quality lawyers who have spent their lives practicing in the appellate area," LeSage said. "I think anyone who met them and looked at their past practice would be honored practicing with them."
Prior to these additions, it had been some years since Buchalter Nemer had a formal appeals practice group.
"We essentially have not had to appeal much because we usually win our cases in court," LeSage added.
While taking pains not to suggest that Buchalter Nemer is now losing more cases, he said the firm decided to recruit appellate lawyers because "it is an additional specialty that is important for clients."
A desire to add a growing specialty practice is also what led Bingham McCuthchen to lure away film finance attorneys Rose PeBenito Shiner and Ronald Sittler from Buchalter Nemer.
"Their extensive experience in film finance matters will help us better serve many of our institutional clients who are actively engaged in the growing film financing market," said Richard Welch, the Los Angeles managing partner of Bingham McCutchen.
Shiner, a transactional attorney, represents financial institutions such as banks and hedge funds in their financing of both single pictures and slates of films. While declining to name her clients specifically, Shiner said they are "major financial institutions that have been active in the financing of independent films."
Sittler, a litigator, also represents financial institutions with regards to film financing, but his practice focuses on disputes that arise between parties involved in the deals.
The "dynamic duo," as described by Shiner, was attracted to Bingham McCutchen because of the firm's strong transactional practice and relationships with financial institutions.
In a somewhat rare move, the firm also gave the two attorneys a promotion. While they were senior counsel at Buchalter Nemer they joined Bingham McCutchen as partners.
In May, Bingham McCutchen announced the acquisition of the 40-attorney litigation shop Alschuler Grossman LLP to complement its local transactional practice.
Real Estate Deal
And in other lateral partner movement news, the Los Angeles office of Proskauer Rose LLP last week added real estate attorneys Louis Eatman and Douglas Frank to the firm's partnership.
The lawyers join the firm from the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw LLP, which has experienced several defections from its local real estate practice in recent months. In March two Los Angeles-based real estate partners left Mayer Brown to join Goodwin Procter LLP.
100 Good Deeds
In honor of its 100th birthday, the Philadelphia-founded law firm Fox Rothschild is performing 100 acts of charity.
The firm's four-attorney Los Angeles office partly fulfilled its charitable duties under this firm-wide mandate by donating dlothing, houseware, toys and other goods to St. Anne's, a residential and transitional facility in Los Angeles for pregnant and parenting at risk teenage girls.
Staff reporter Drew Combs can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 228, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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