What a difference a year can make.


Just ask Los Angeles law firm Greenberg Glusker LLP, which last year at this time was under siege. High-profile partner Bertram Fields had been implicated in the probe of Hollywood detective Anthony Pellicano and several top attorneys had exited, including well-known talent representative Howard Weitzman.


Managing partner Norm Levine said the firm's profitability didn't suffer, but there was no denying the turmoil took a toll in terms of public image.


Things have brightened considerably in recent weeks, however.


The firm has hired Steven Weinberg away from Greenberg Traurig LLP, Rami S. Yanni from McDermott Will & Emery LLP and Jim Hughes from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.


Weinberg, the most recent hire, has a client list filled with celebrities and Fortune 100 companies. He's also involved in cutting-edge new media work, including Budweiser's online television project, Bud.tv. Yanni is an intellectual property specialist and Hughes works on real estate.


Making the move from one of the world's largest firms to a considerably smaller firm was key for Weinberg, who frequently dealt with conflicts arising from the firm's vast client roster.


"I'd been wanting to focus my practice more and more on California, or as much as I could," Weinberg said. "I looked around and talked to a number of firms and I felt this was the best place. It's vibrant, the people get along and they're incredibly competent."


Despite last year's troubles, Greenberg remains one of the country's best-known entertainment firms.


Levine said the three hires came around the same time because all three of the attorneys had begun to examine opportunities at year's end, and each had a complicated practice that took months to move.


He added that the Weinberg and Yanni hires prove that moving from a big firm to a small one isn't a demotion and can improve the attorneys' quality of life.


"I think there's a misperception that all of the mobility is from local and regional firms to national firms," Levine said. "I think you're going to increasingly see people like Steve who understand that there are tremendous opportunities in a firm like ours."


Weinberg said the travails of the past year weren't a problem for him,


"People there are happy, the collegiality is sensational and I think whatever was in the past is gone, and they seem to be stronger for it."

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