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."
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