Gregory Evans got some notice in the legal world earlier this month when he quit his job as a prominent partner in the downtown L.A. office of New York-based Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP to start his own practice.

He said he wants his firm, Integer Law Corp., to focus on high-stakes litigation and offer alternative billing.

“I’ve been in management positions in large firms and there’s this tension that doesn’t allow you to internalize your client’s problems and to feel your client’s problems the way they do,” Evans, 49, said. “There’s a drive to create a bigger and bigger book of business and to leverage that to make more money year after year.”

Evans has already opened the doors to his office on the top floor of the Fine Arts Building in downtown Los Angeles. How’s he doing? Evans said he’s kept all the clients that he had at Milbank, and has already been assigned cases by some of them, including Nike, Sherwin-Williams and Steinway Musical Instruments.

Evans, who specializes in environmental cases, is in the process of hiring three associates and one paralegal, but doesn’t plan to get much larger than that.

What’s the difference between Integer and any other small firm?

“We are not trying to just apply the same model at a lower rate,” he said. “We will be selective in the cases that we take.”

Before joining Milbank, Evans was head of the litigation department at the San Francisco office of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and a partner at Seattle-based firm Preston Gates & Ellis.

Leaving Bet Tzedek

In his seven years as chief executive of L.A.-based Bet Tzedek, Mitchell Kamin has almost doubled the budget and staff of the non-profit legal services organization, and tripled the endowment.

Now, Kamin has announced that he will be stepping down on Sept. 3 to join Century City boutique law firm Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert Nessim Drooks & Lincenberg, which focuses on complex civil and white-collar criminal litigation.

He felt comfortable leaving because Bet Tzedek, which provides free assistance to thousands of people per year, is on solid footing.

“It was a good time for me to make that transition,” he said. “The new programs are thriving and the organization is in excellent shape.”

The move marks a return to private practice for Kamin, 43. Before joining Bet Tzedek, he was a partner at O’Neill Lysaght & Sun, a Santa Monica firm that dissolved shortly after Kamin left in 2003. He said he is excited to get back into the courtroom, and singled out white-collar work as something he particularly enjoys.

“I still have a lot of professional life ahead of me,” he said. “Bird Marella is a perfect place for me to go now and build a successful practice.”

Name partner Mark Drooks is on the board at Bet Tzedek, as was Howard Matz, a former partner at Bird Marella who is a federal judge in the Central District of California.

“Mitch has had a long tenure at Bet Tzedek and it didn’t surprise me that he’s ready to do something different,” Drooks said.

Not Done Yet

When he turned 65 in May, Les Lo Baugh started getting calls from prospective employers. At the time, he was a partner at the downtown L.A. office of Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, which has a mandatory retirement policy for partners. But Lo Baugh had no intention to retire at the end of this year.

One of the offers he got was from Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, and he agreed to join the firm’s Century City office. He’ll head up the firm’s natural resources practice group in Los Angeles.

“The things I’m most interested in are climate change and the inevitable restructuring of the energy industry – things that are developing in terms of not only what the law and regulations are going to be, but also what public policy is going to be,” he said. “I’m very excited about those kinds of issues, and I have no desire to go clip coupons.”

Staff reporter Alfred Lee can be reached at alee@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.

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