At a time when few firms are in expansion mode, Dickstein Shapiro LLP has added three intellectually property attorneys to its Century City office.
Lawrence LaPorte, David Randall and Michael Tomasulo joined Dickstein two weeks ago as partners, leaving the downtown L.A. office of Jones Day LLP.
LaPorte said the trio opted to jump ship and join Dickstein because of the chance to help the firm develop its intellectual property practice. Plus it was an opportunity to join a firm with a growth strategy.
"You don't have a lot of firms expanding right now," LaPorte said.
Although the down economy prompted Dickstein to layoff 10 attorneys in January and place a freeze on associate salaries for 2009, the firm plans to aim for new growth. With the addition of the three partners, it now houses 28 attorneys in Century City.
Linda Kornfeld, managing partner of the Century City office, said the firm needed LaPorte, Randall and Tomasulo.
"I think that when you are running a business, even in a bad economy, you want to make sure you are continuing to grow your business," Kornfeld said.
All three partners are litigators, and represent technology, entertainment and video game companies in disputes over issues involving patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. The attorneys, who have practiced together for 14 years, also advise clients on the development and management of patent and trademark portfolios.
Well-known entertainment boutique Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP has tapped litigator Suann MacIsaac to expand the firm's video game practice.
MacIsaac's addition to the Santa Monica firm is the latest example of a law firm giving increased emphasis to its video game capabilities.
"Video games are just such a huge part of the entertainment industry now," MacIsaac said. "And you have companies growing up and experiencing the pains of being a major corporation, and experiencing the litigation that goes along with that."
MacIsaac has handled disputes for several prominent video game companies, including Sherman Oaks developer Spark Unlimited and publisher Ubisoft Entertainment S.A.
But the opportunity to build the firm's video game practice isn't the sole reason MacIsaac opted to join Kinsella Weitzman from Century City firm Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP. She wanted to reunite with some old colleagues.
At the beginning of MacIsaac's tenure at Greenberg Glusker, she worked alongside Dale Kinsella and Larry Iser, who left to start Kinsella Weitzman in 2006.
Kinsella Weitzman name partner Howard Weitzman has been in the news as of late through his involvement in the battle over Michael Jackson's estate. He is representing the executors of the estate, high-profile entertainment attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain.
Greenberg Traurig LLP snagged Jan Handzlik from powerhouse litigation firm Howrey LLP to head its white-collar criminal defense practice on the West Coast.
Handzlik, who joined Greenberg's Santa Monica office in mid-August as shareholder, is the latest white-collar criminal defense attorney to jump firms. James Sanders joined the Century City office of Reed Smith LLP in July from McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and high-profile attorney James Asperger joined the downtown L.A. office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP in February from O'Melveny & Myers LLP.
The increased movement in the white-collar space grows out of the prospect of criminal cases related to the subprime market meltdown and related cases triggered by the collapse of the real estate sector.
"The financial downturn will mean a substantial number of new business crime cases," Handzlik said. "And, the new administration in Washington has made it quite clear that there will be a renewed emphasis on things like criminal antitrust, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, securities fraud, and in particular mortgage fraud."
Before Handzlik joined Greenberg, Raymond Kim was the only attorney in the firm's Santa Monica office who handled white-collar criminal defense matters. However, Kim also specializes in complex business litigation, including intellectual property, and labor and employment disputes.
Handzlik, a former assistant U.S. attorney, focuses his practice solely on representing individuals and corporations in investigations and prosecutions, including matters of securities fraud, government contracts fraud and allegations of public corruption. He also handles internal investigations for corporations.
Staff reporter Alexa Hyland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235.
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