Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods & George LLP has formed a sports marketing and consulting firm that will be based in the firm's Santa Monica office.

The new business venture, Dreier Sports Opportunities Group LLC, complements the firm's sports law practice and will assist athletes, sports agents and sports-related businesses in developing and marketing their products.

Former Major League Baseball Properties Inc. executive and Dreier Stein attorney Don Gibson, who is a partner in the sports law group, will head the unit.

"I am responsible for all of the day to day operations, providing business, marketing and other consulting services," Gibson said. "I will be working to develop revenue generating business platforms upon which clients' brands can be built and grow. We can serve the legal needs of our clients as well as their business needs."

Gibson's experience in the sports industry has roots in his stint at Major League Baseball, where he started as an in-house attorney, and then served as senior vice president and general counsel for the organization.

In November 2007, Gibson returned to the world of private practice, helping Dreier Stein grow its sports law department. The firm's clients include former pro football running back Eric Dickerson and basketball legend Julius Erving.

Dreier Stein also recently brought on transactional attorneys to assist the firm's sports clients in their naming rights, licensing and branding deals.

The firm, which is an affiliate of New York-based Dreier LLP, also has an office in Beverly Hills.

Superhero Lawyer

Los Angeles entertainment litigator Carole Handler, who is best known for representing Marvel Comics in its efforts to reclaim the motion picture rights to Spider Man, has joined Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon LLP as partner.

Handler left her post as vice-chair of the intellectual property litigation group at Foley & Lardner LLP to join the L.A. office of the Chicago-based firm.

"This is an incredible opportunity because I am in on the ground floor of a firm that is starting to focus on my areas of practice in Los Angeles," Handler said.

Wildman Harrold has been growing its intellectual property practice in Los Angeles since 2007. The 200-attorney firm also added media and technology attorney Alan L. Friel and former Paramount Pictures Corp. in-house counsel Nancy Derwin-Weiss to establish its presence in the entertainment law market.

"When the firm opened the office with Alan, I was enthusiastic because it gave me an idea of how the firm wants to grow," Handler said.

Handler's practice is focused on the antitrust implications for a business when enforcing its intellectual property rights and copyright issues related to new media.

When she isn't defending Super Man, Handler teaches antitrust and intellectual property law at the University of Southern California. She also teaches a class at Rutgers University Law School about superheroes in copyright law.

"I love teaching," she said. "I have been doing it for about 10 years, and I am not willing to give it up."

Litigation Trio

Arent Fox LLP is beefing-up its Los Angeles office with the addition of three litigation attorneys.

Partners Drew Hansen and Michael Turrill joined the firm along with senior associate Mark Phillips.

Hansen and Phillips previously practiced at their own firm, Orange County-based Hansen & Phillips LLP. But the duo decided to move to Arent Fox so their clients could take advantage of the services the firm's 350 lawyers have to offer.

"The type of work that we do is class action defense," Hansen said. "And having a bigger platform, with more attorneys and a national reputation, makes it easier to convince companies that we have the resources to handle their problems."

Hansen already had connections with some of the lawyers in Arent Fox's L.A. office.

"I had a pre-existing relationship with Lowell Brown, who is a terrific health care lawyer," Hansen said.

Turrill, who left Washington D.C.-based Howrey LLP to join Arent Fox, focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, including unfair competition, contract and real estate partnership disputes.

"It was an exciting opportunity to help build a practice and new office," Turrill said. "I had been following their progress since the opening of the office in January 2007, and I was impressed with the caliber of people they were attracting and type of practice that was being built."

In 2007, Washington, D.C.-based Arent Fox established its presence in L.A. when it opened an office with local litigation boutique O'Brien Abeles LLP. The firm started with nine lawyers, and has since grown to 25.

Staff reporter Alexa Hyland can be reached at ahyland@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235.

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