As a result of the merger, these relatively small Los Angeles outposts are being combined. But some of the tension that might naturally arise in these situations is muted because the merger will be a reunion of sorts for the managing partners at the firms.

Dean Hansell, co-managing partner of LeBoeuf Lamb's local office, and David McLeod, co-managing partner of Dewey Ballantine in Los Angeles, previously practiced together at the now-defunct law firm Lillick, McHose & Charles.

"It is one of the more interesting aspects of this merger that we are practicing together again," McLeod said. "There is an initial comfort level there and it has made it easier to tackle all the integration issues we have had to deal with."

A couple of days after the merger was announced in August, Hansell and McLeod got together for breakfast at the California Club ostensibly to begin the process.

"We spent a substantial part of the breakfast just catching up," Hansell said.

Since then there have been more formal and productive gatherings between the lawyers to discuss issues such as practice groups, synergies and operational duties. Dewey Ballantine's local lawyers practice in a variety of areas including litigation, bankruptcy, real estate and general corporate matters. LeBoeuf Lamb's local office also has litigation and corporate practice groups.

There is still much left to tackle. No decision has been made on how to literally combine the offices, and leasing entirely new office space is an option being considered.

Dubai Law

The law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1890, plans to open an office in Dubai by year's end.

"Gibson Dunn has a strong existing client base with some of the largest institutions in the Gulf region," said Ken Doran, Gibson Dunn's managing partner. The Dubai office will counsel clients on private equity deals, real estate investments and Sharia complaint financial transactions among other matters.

While the office will mark the firm's fifth overseas outpost, it will be the only such office outside of Europe. Gibson Dunn's Brussels office was the most recent international satellite prior to Dubai. The 900-attorney firm also has offices in Paris, London and Munich.

A partner from Gibson Dunn's Washington, D.C., office will initially head the Dubai office, located at Dubai International Financial Centre.

Staff reporter Drew Combs can be reached at or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.


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