Bingham McCutchen LLP has acquired another esteemed Los Angeles firm, Alschuler Grossman LLP. The international firm established its Southern California presence in 2003, by merging with former Mayor Richard Riordan's firm, Riordan & McKenzie.


"Through the combination with Riordan in 2003, we picked up a really top-of-the-line private equity and corporate practice. We already had probably the strongest environmental practice after merging with McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen in San Francisco. The piece we were really missing down here was really a top litigation practice," said Jay Zimmerman, chairman of the Bingham firm.


Richard Riordan now works for the firm as of counsel. Former Gov. Pete Wilson also works out of Bingham's L.A. office, with the firm's consulting group.


"We are able to handle work for any corporation, small, medium or large, any place in the world," Riordan said. "The one thing we didn't have was a large enough litigation department in Southern California, so this merger has brought us full-scale, so there's nothing we can't do for anybody."


The Alschuler firm has long been linked to merger talks with national firms, although managing partner Marshall Grossman denied late last year that such talks had ever reached a serious stage.


"We were fortunate enough to be courted by several of the leading firms nationwide," said Grossman, who has represented Guess Inc., Grupo Televisa SPA and Blockbuster Inc. "Many of our clients have sought our help on major mergers and acquisitions but until now we've been unable to provide that service. The litigation we've been handling has become national and global in nature."


Having been on opposite sides in several cases, Grossman and Riordan have had a relationship that has been tumultuous as well as longstanding.


"There was a time when I said I was my own worst enemy," Riordan recalled, "and Marshall said, 'not while I'm alive.'"


He later hired Grossman to handle several matters while he was mayor.


Alschuler had about 40 lawyers when it combined with Bingham, which has about 1,000 lawyers. About 350 of those attorneys are in California. The firm made $686 million in 2006, or about $1.2 million per partner.


Grossman is a partner at the combined firm, which won't change its name, and has agreed to stay on for at least five years as part of the deal.


Richard Welch will continue to serve as managing partner at the Los Angeles office. The merged firms will keep their respective offices in downtown L.A. and Santa Monica, at least for the time being.


Greener Pastures

Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, an international law firm with a small Los Angeles presence, recently hired three new partners, each from prominent firms. Edwin G. Schuck, Jr., and Karen I. Calhoun joined Holme from McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and Lawrence P. Ebiner came from Morrison & Foerster LLP. Robert S. Metzger, former chair of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP's communications practice, is now a corporate and securities partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif LLP hired Gerard Fox, founding partner of Fox & Spillane LLP, a commercial litigation boutique. Fox brought his partner, Raul Perez. Both men are partners at Liner. Quateman LLP hired a new associate, Jonathan M. Yagoubzadeh. He was previously a clerk in the City Attorney's Office.


Staff reporter Emily Bryson York can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235, or at eyork@labusinessjournal.com.

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