Wanting to concentrate on law more than management, three former Irell & Manella LLP partners have set up their own firm.

Richard Kendall, Laura Brill and Robert Klieger left the prominent Century City firm May 4 to launch their own boutique litigation shop, Kendall Brill & Klieger LLP. It? because the trio wanted to move away from dealing with the everyday tasks associated with running a big law firm, and instead spend more time assisting clients ?including entertainment giants Paramount Pictures, MTV Networks and BET Networks.

?e have a group of clients who we have been serving for many years who will benefit from us being able to serve their needs in a lower-cost and more flexible setting,?Kendall said.

Kendall Brill? founding partners believe that a smaller setting will also give them the opportunity to groom young litigators. The firm plans to allow nonpartner junior attorneys to share the firm? profits. That was the way things used to be before bigger firms swallowed up many of the successful smaller operators.

?t? a throwback to the way law firms operated when I was a fledgling lawyer,?Kendall said. ?e are hoping that the younger lawyers we attract will have a sense of long-term investment in the growth and success of the firm.?p>Kendall Brill, which is in Century City, houses six lawyers and plans to grow to about 16 attorneys during the next two years.

New Additions

The Century City office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP has steadily grown from four to more than 33 attorneys since its founding nearly three years ago, including the recent addition of three high-profile litigators.

Michael McNamara joined the firm as partner two weeks ago, and Kirsten Spira and Patrick Jacobs joined as of-counsel at the same time. All three previously practiced together at McNamara Spira & Smith LLP.

Mark Neubauer, managing partner of the Century City office, said that Steptoe & Johnson faced competition from others in recruiting them ?they were being courted by numerous local firms.

?t is a team everybody was talking to, and we were glad we were their pick,?Neubauer said.

In recent months, McNamara has won a $5.6 million jury verdict in a palimony case and obtained a $40 million arbitration award for a real estate industry client.

Neubauer opened the Century City office for Washington, D.C.-based Steptoe & Johnson in 2006, and has overseen its growth with the addition of attorneys who specialize in litigation of intellectual property disputes, in handling bankruptcy proceedings and in structuring companies, partnerships and corporations.

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