Tony Canzoneri has merged his 35-year-old real estate law firm, Brown Winfield Canzoneri Abram Inc., with a Washington, D.C., firm in order to capitalize on development opportunities that the federal stimulus bill will bring.

Canzoneri and a team of 16 attorneys joined the downtown L.A. office of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.

"Being just a real estate firm required us to go outside for certain kinds of services because we now have clients who are in the estate planning and succession of business stages," Canzoneri said.

Canzoneri's clients, including L.A. real estate developer Jerry Snyder, will move with him.

The marriage comes at a difficult time for the legal industry. Firms are being hit by the economic downturn, and some are laying off associates and support staff in mass numbers to withstand the storm.

However, McKenna Long decided to add the group of Brown Winfield attorneys because the firm is gearing up for an influx of business as local real estate developers and contractors prepare to bid on the infrastructure projects that result from the federal economic stimulus package.

"The stimulus package is going to spend a lot of money on infrastructure projects and we needed a real estate component to support that," said Thomas Abbott, a partner in McKenna Long's local office who leads the firm's government contracts practice. "We are getting more calls from commercial contractors and developers who are interested in doing business with the government."

McKenna Long's area office dates to the 1980s, when the firm established a presence here to serve aerospace clients. The office expanded from aerospace and government contracts to real estate and environmental practices.

New Presence

It's no secret that Philadelphia's Blank Rome LLP has been in the market to open an L.A. office since last year.

The firm made it official March 2, when it announced the creation of an office in Century City with five new partners.

"We made it known that we were very interested and had met with a number of headhunters in Los Angeles over the months," said Carl Buchholz, Blank Rome chief executive. "We are excited to raise the Blank Rome flag in Los Angeles with this group of partners."

The lawyers Lawrence Hinkle, Andrew Kim, Warren Koshofer, Glen Rothstein and William Small specialize in litigation and real estate transactions.

Hinkle and Kim previously practiced together at the now-defunct Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods George LLP. Koshofer joins Blank Rome from Musick Peeler & Garrett LLP, while Small and Rothstein hail from Bingham McCutchen LLP and Rosenfeld Meyer & Susman LLP, respectively.

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