Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP has continued to expand its West L.A. office with the recent addition of Deborah Drooz and Barry Langberg as shareholders.

Drooz and Langberg come from Stroock Stroock & Lavan LLP. Drooz specializes in the entertainment industry, handling rights of publicity, private and intellectual property matters. Langberg, who will also work out of the firm's Santa Barbara office, specializes in complex business disputes, including real estate issues. Both represent clients in defamation cases.

Robert Saperstein, managing shareholder of Brownstein Hyatt's California offices, said the addition of Drooz and Langberg is part of the firm's plan to strengthen its litigation capabilities.

"They have known different partners within our firm and have collaborated on cases for many years," said Saperstein. "It was a natural addition to our blossoming litigation practice in California."

Drooz and Langberg have been practicing together for 20 years. The pair first met when Drooz was a young sole practitioner with a client roster that included local rock bands and video production companies.

"I was in my rock and roll thing, black spandex head to toe, and I went over and he hired me on the spot," Drooz said of her first meeting with Langberg.

Drooz and Langberg then began representing clients in the entertainment industry, and Drooz developed a specialty doing appellate work. The pair spent 10 years practicing in Stroock's Century City office before deciding to jump ship to Brownstein Hyatt.

Drooz said the move will allow her and Langberg to grow their books of business, something that was difficult to do at Stroock because the firm couldn't accept certain new clients because of conflicts.

"I felt that I needed a place where I could carve out my own space," Drooz said. "I'm hoping to bring back into the practice the straight entertainment litigation, profit participation and breach-of-contract cases."

Government Connections

The attorney roster for Bingham McCutchen LLP already includes former Mayor Richard Riordan and Gov. Pete Wilson. And now the firm is boosting its profile even higher with the addition of former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox.

Cox, who joined the firm last week, will serve as partner in Bingham's corporate and securities practice area, and as principal of Bingham Consulting Group, a Bingham subsidiary. He will be based in the firm's Orange County office.

"We see this as a real coup for us in Southern California," said Rick Welsh, managing partner of Bingham's downtown L.A. office. "It puts us in a unique position to have Chris Cox, Pete Wilson and Dick Riordan on high-level client matters. It's quite a triumvirate."

Several law firms were looking to bring Cox on board, but Welch said Bingham was able to snag the former Orange County congressman partly because of his long-standing relationship with Wilson.

"He had lots of options. There are no questions about that," Welch said.

As a member of the House, Cox served on the Homeland Security and the Energy and Commerce committees. During his tenure as SEC chairman, Cox established rules requiring clear disclosure of how executives are compensated.

Welch said Bingham's presence in Southern California, coupled with the strength of its Washington, D.C., office, also enticed Cox to join the firm. Bingham houses about 130 attorneys in its downtown L.A., Santa Monica and Orange County offices, in addition to about 140 in its D.C. outpost.

Trust Litigation

When Henry Zangwill decided to leave his firm of 13 years for Valensi Rose PLC, he was excited about the chance to build a trust and estates litigation practice for the Century City firm.

Zangwill, who previously practiced in the downtown L.A. office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, joined 17-attorney Valensi Rose last month.

"It was a difficult decision," Zangwill said. "But I enjoy the prospect of going with a smaller firm and the opportunity to develop a trust and estates litigation practice."

Zangwill handles disputes involving trusts, conservatorships and wills. He also handles complex business disputes.

Valensi Rose attorneys specialize in entertainment law, family law, corporate transactions, and tax and wealth planning.

Zangwill said the firm's expertise in tax matters complement his practice.

"I'm fortunate that the firm has a large number of tax attorneys here that are a good resource for the trust and estate litigation practice," he said.

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

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