Venable LLP continued its expansion into Southern California with the addition of eight tax and estate planning attorneys to the firm's Century City outpost.

The attorneys Brad Cohen, Michael Foster, Robin Gilden, David Schwartz, Michael Luftman, Charles Kolstad, Kyle Neal and Richard Luftman joined the Washington, D.C.-based firm two weeks ago. Seven of the attorneys came from Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen, which is now Reish & Reicher; the eighth, Neal, joined from Freeman Freeman & Smiley LLP.

"We have bucked the trend of either no growth or the inverse of growth," said Douglas Emhoff, partner-in-charge of Venable's Century City office. "We have managed to continue to grow this office despite the economy, and we are happy about that."

With these most recent additions, Venable has expanded its Century City office from 20 to 47 attorneys since it opened in 2006. Just since January, the firm has added labor and employment litigator Rebecca Aragon and intellectual property attorney George Borkowski.

Cohen said he'd thought about joining Venable for two years, but had some reservations about enlisting at a national law firm. A friend who works there had discussed the matter with him over the years and he was ultimately convinced despite earlier doubts.

"It's my first time at a larger firm," Cohen said. "I was unsure about how that would impact the way I practice."

Cohen and the seven attorneys who joined Venable with him advise companies and individuals in the entertainment industry on tax issues. They also help non-profits navigate the tax rules that govern such organizations.

Sibling Rivalry

Thanks to the City of Hope, high-profile intellectual property attorney Morgan Chu is keeping up the competition with his brother Steven, the U.S. secretary of energy.

The Duarte research and treatment center for cancer and diabetes gave Chu an honorary doctorate at its commencement ceremony June 12.

"I was kidding a little bit about sibling rivalry because my brother Steve was the commencement speaker a number of years ago at the City of Hope," Morgan Chu said after the ceremony. "But he didn't receive an honorary degree from them. They didn't give him an honorary degree because he didn't have a sufficient body of work."

Steven Chu was at the ceremony to hear his brother's jokes, along with a noticeable entourage.

"There were a bunch of security people with plugs in their ears," Morgan Chu said.

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