The USC Gould School of Law has snagged John Schulman, former Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. general counsel, to head its new entertainment law program.
Schulman, who served as executive vice president and general counsel of Warner Bros. for 25 years before retiring in 2008, joined USC's roster as executive director at the beginning of August. The new entertainment law program will launch in fall 2010.
"I like the notion of law students coming out and having a little more context and perspective," said Schulman, who is a board member of Southwestern University School of Law. "Not just theoretical law."
The program, designed for students interested in practicing entertainment law, will also include courses from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the USC Marshall School of Business.
Until now, the university's law school has only offered single classes in entertainment law some of which are taught by Paramount Pictures Vice President Michael Grizzi and Lifetime Television Deputy General Counsel Jeff Schneider and did not have a dedicated program.
But with the addition of Schulman and the creation of an entertainment law specialty, the school is likely to raise its profile in the industry.
Schulman started at Warner Bros. in 1981, when he was tapped to build the studio's legal department which now includes about 150 attorneys.
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP continued to expand its litigation capabilities with the addition of Doug Rovens and Steven Lamb.
Rovens and Lamb, who joined as partners last month, jumped from the downtown L.A. office of Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP.
Both attorneys said they opted to join Katten because of its ability to handle complex litigation.
"Katten's office here in Los Angeles has more capacity," Rovens said. "It's a larger office than the Squire office, and with the types of cases we have, we needed the capacity."
The Century City office of Katten houses about 70 attorneys, while the downtown L.A. office of Squire Sanders is home to about 33.
Rovens and Lamb, who have practiced together for more than 10 years, specialize in business litigation, and represent corporations in intellectual property and environmental disputes. They also handle white-collar criminal cases.
But at Katten, both attorneys said they are looking to expand their books of business.
"It's more entrepreneurial and a younger firm," Rovens said. "And in this environment you have to be that way. They are able to adapt to client needs."
Raines Law Group LLP has tapped attorney Silvia Saucedo to head its new sustainability and government advocacy practice.
Saucedo, a real estate and land use lawyer, joined the Beverly Hills firm as partner last month.
She is one of 50 California attorneys to hold an accreditation in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and also has experience on the government side, having worked with the Los Angeles Mayor's Office to form the city's first green building policy.
Raines Law Group, which is home to 13 attorneys, represents clients in ownership, operation and valuation of commercial real estate. The firm's attorneys also handle general business transactions for entertainment companies.
In addition to practicing law, Saucedo is owner of the Saucedo Group, a real estate consulting firm.
When Nancy Morgan was looking to leave White & Case LLP, she wanted to join a firm that would allow her to establish a stronger relationship with clients.
So she joined Century City's Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff Inc., a regional law firm that caters to smaller companies.
"One of things that I really liked about Rutter Hobbs is that its clients are middle-market clients," said Morgan, who joined last month as a senior associate. "And some don't have general counsels, which allows us to jump into the general counsel role for them."
For example, Morgan said she's been managing the intellectual property portfolios such as patents for some of the firm's clients.
An intellectual property litigator, Morgan represents apparel, toy, retail and technology companies in trademark, copyright and patent disputes.
Andrew Apfelberg, a partner in Rutter's corporate department, said the firm added Morgan in its efforts to grow.
"In an era when most other firms are racking up sizable debt, laying people off and shedding practice areas, our firm has strong financials and we are growing," he said.
That's partly because Rutter Hobbs only houses about 24 attorneys, and therefore doesn't have the costly overhead and support staff that larger law firms do.
Since the beginning of the year, the firm also has added partners Judy Lam and John Melissinos to its roster.
Staff reporter Alexa Hyland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235.
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