Editor's Note: This story has been changed from the print version to correct the number of years Eric Reimer had worked for Goodwin Procter LLP.

Eric R. Reimer has joined O’Melveny & Myers and is betting that its strong reputation and international presence will give him the best chance to rebuild his corporate finance practice.

Reimer joined the Los Angeles firm as partner after three years with Boston-based Goodwin Procter LLP. He will split time between the firm’s L.A. and New York offices, as he did at Goodwin.

A major portion of Reimer’s practice is in representing lenders working with large companies seeking acquisitions or refinancing, and in representing private equity firms looking to borrow. During downturns, he tends to focus more on debt restructuring.

In the downturn of the last two years, his book of business has dropped to the $4 million-$5 million range, compared with the $6 million to $7 million it was in prior years. He hopes to build it back up at O’Melveny and said this year already has been one of his busiest.

“Banks started lending again, getting liquidity into the system and M&A parties got more pragmatic about pricing,” he said. “A lot of transactions got done on the front end, combined with continued restructuring.”

Reimer, 49, said O’Melveny’s strong presence in London and Asia – it has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore – appeals to private equity firms and other clients, and cited the firm’s large reputation as another reason for the switch.

He plans to spend 20 days a month in Los Angeles, and the other 10 in New York, taking the red-eye Sundays to avoid missing work or time with his kids. His California-based clients include one of the largest banks and private equity firms.

In an e-mail statement, Peter Healy, co-chairman of O’Melveny’s corporate finance practice, said Reimer brings a lot to the firm. Prior to Goodwin, he was at McDermott Will & Emery for 10 years.

Reimer’s “23 years of experience representing clients in private equity, distressed debt, and other transactions is a perfect complement to our existing corporate finance, capital markets, restructuring, and M&A capabilities,” the statement said.

Middle-Market Movement

Unlike Reimer, merger and acquisitions specialist Jeryl Bowers has mostly represented middle-market companies in Southern California throughout his career. So it seems a natural fit that he recently joined Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP’s similarly focused corporate group as partner.

Bowers was previously a partner in the Century City office of Pittsburgh-based K&L Gates LLP, and will work out of Sheppard Mullin’s Century City office.

Bowers, 42, represents strategic acquirers and also does general outside counsel work for clients. Two of his larger clients are Beckman Coulter Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.

“Sheppard Mullin has a much larger footprint in the California market where most of my clients are based,” he said. “It’s more active in the M&A environment as well.”

Sheppard Mullin has added several partners to its corporate practice this year, including former DLA Piper partner Jon Atzen to its downtown L.A. office. Between its Century City and downtown offices, the firm has about 30 corporate attorneys.

“Here in Southern California we’ve had particular emphasis on the midmarket, because after all it’s a midmarket economy,” said Jon Newby, co-leader of the firm’s corporate practice group. “We are certainly optimistic that the increase in M&A and other corporate activity will continue and we think it’s a good time to be growing that practice.”

Tokyo Connection

In August, when DLA Piper landed a team of intellectual property attorneys from Hogan Lovells that included the prominent Richard de Bodo, it instantly established a formidable IP practice in Los Angeles. The move also strengthened the firm’s ties to Japan, where several of de Bodo’s clients are based.

Now, the addition of patent attorneys and former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partners Bill Androlia and Henry Koda as senior counsels in the firm’s L.A. and Tokyo offices has further strengthened the group and Asian connection.

Androlia and Koda represent Japanese companies in patent proceedings and helped launch Quinn Emanuel’s Tokyo office in 2007. The two also have a few clients based in the U.S. and Europe.

“DLA Piper is basically in all the places we would like to do business,” said Androlia, 66. “It presented more opportunity for our clients and was a better fit for the kind of work that we do.”

Koda and Androlia have been working together for decades. They ran their own boutique firm for 30 years before joining Quinn Emanuel in 2007. Koda spends nine months out of the year in Japan, while Androlia spends most of his time in Los Angeles.

“It fits in perfectly with a part of Rich’s practice,” said John Allcock, global co-chair of DLA’s intellectual property practice. “Now with Koda and Androlia we bring much more senior leadership to that Japanese-U.S. IP corridor.”

DLA Piper’s intellectual property group in Los Angeles has grown from a handful of attorneys to more than 20 in the last year, most of that occurring when de Bodo and his team joined.

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

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