Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP has boosted its presence in the entertainment industry with the addition of attorneys Kelly Crabb and Rick Kopenhefer.

Crabb joined Sheppard Mullin’s downtown L.A. office; Kopenhefer joined the firm’s Century City office. Both joined earlier this month as partners.

Crabb, who practiced at Morrison & Foerster LLP for 14 years before joining Sheppard Mullin, has served as legal counsel in connection with three Olympic Games, including the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Crabb said he had thought about moving to a new firm for some time, and opted to join Sheppard Mullin because of its reputation in entertainment circles.

“I didn’t jump real quickly,” Crabb said. “I was looking to be at a firm where the platform in the entertainment space was strong. And Sheppard has exactly the kind of practice I was looking for.”

Crabb handles legal matters for motion picture and television producers, technology-based entertainment companies and the recording industry. He also handles Olympics-related work, advising a company that’s using speed skater Apolo Ohno as an endorser.

Kopenhefer, who practiced at McDermott Will & Emery LLP for 12 years before joining Sheppard Mullin, specializes in labor and employment issues as they relate to the entertainment industry. He represents film producers and distributors dealing with guild-related matters, including accounting and payment of residuals.

“I wanted to go to a firm that has a strong entertainment practice and a strong labor practice,” Kopenhefer said.

Regulating Securities

Attorney Cliff Hyatt has joined Foley & Lardner LLP’s downtown L.A. office, adding to the firm’s growing roster of litigators with Securities and Exchange Commission experience.

Hyatt is the third partner with experience working for the SEC to join Milwaukee-based Foley in the past 12 months. He joined Foley earlier this month from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where he practiced for more than four years.

Hyatt said he joined Foley because the firm is focusing more on securities-related regulation and litigation as the federal government looks to regulate Wall Street.

“I don’t think we know yet what the new regulatory scheme will look like for brokerage firms and banks,” Hyatt said. “But they are going to need counselors and advisers who understand the markets and regulatory scheme.”

Hyatt represents financial institutions, investment advisers, hedge funds and public companies in matters before the SEC, New York Stock Exchange and state securities agencies. Hyatt spent 11 years working for the SEC before entering private practice in 2002. He also worked on Wall Street.

Defending Business

Becca Wahlquist joined Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP after spending her nine-year legal career practicing at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Wahlquist joined the West L.A. office of Manatt Phelps as partner last week. She said that she opted to join the firm for the opportunity to practice in a different environment.

“I was looking for something new and energizing,” Wahlquist said.

She specializes in complex commercial litigation, including contract disputes, business tort claims and class-action litigation. She enjoys representing corporations that have been sued over unfair business practices or other claims often brought against larger companies.

“I think the complexities in these cases are really interesting,” Wahlquist said. “And so many cutting-edge issues are determined. They end up being bellwether cases for businesses.”

Wahlquist also handles issues before state and federal appellate courts.

Haiti Relief

Attorneys and staff at Hennigan Bennett & Dorman LLP have found a creative way to donate money for Haiti relief efforts – blue jeans.

The downtown L.A. firm decided last month to ask attorneys and support workers to donate $10 to the Red Cross for the privilege of wearing jeans to work on Fridays. So far, the firm has collected $1,480 through its campaign, which will conclude at the end of this month.

Robert Palmer, managing partner at Hennigan Bennett, said the firm decided to give money to the Red Cross after attorneys and staff expressed interest in donating to the cause.

“It’s always popular to support charities by giving people the chance to wear blue jeans to work,” Palmer said.

Hennigan Bennett also made a standalone donation of $20,000 to the Red Cross last month. In addition, the firm’s attorneys and staff members have made $3,938 in individual donations to the organization, which the firm will match up to $5,000.

“There were a lot of people who wanted to do something, and it was easy to decide to make a contribution on behalf of the firm,” Palmer said. “And it also seemed to create an opportunity for other folks to leverage their own individual contributions by offering to match what individuals were contributing.”

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

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