For most of his 17 years at Sidley Austin LLP, Steve Ellis’ practice has consisted of two kinds of work: complex commercial litigation and consumer financial services litigation.

But in recent years, the L.A. office of his firm began to focus less on consumer financial services litigation, and defending companies involved in such suits dropped to about 10 percent of his business.

Now, Ellis, 46, has moved to become a partner at Goodwin Procter’s Century City office, which focuses heavily on consumer financial services litigation. That will allow for more of a 50-50 balance. Both he and the firm are noticing that the downturn has triggered a surge of such cases, especially class-action lawsuits against mortgage lenders.

“Goodwin has just such a broad array of contacts in the consumer financial services litigation space,” Ellis said, “that right from the start I’ll be able to use the skills I was able to develop at Sidley – as well as client contacts on the platform that Goodwin’s already built.”

Tom Hefferon, head of Goodwin’s consumer financial services litigation practice, said that Ellis’ addition was part of an effort to expand the Boston firm’s California presence.

“The two areas that we currently have and are growing in litigation (in Los Angeles) are the class-action practice as well as the commercial litigation practice,” Hefferon said. “Steve has a combination of experience in those areas. We look forward to practicing together.”


After 11 years at Winston & Strawn LLP, Evan Moses is moving to the downtown L.A. office of labor and employment law firm Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC as a shareholder.

The Atlanta-based firm has 40 offices and only represents management in labor and employment disputes. The bulk of Moses’ practice will continue to be defending wage-and-hour cases. A press statement by Cheryl Schreck, managing shareholder of the firm’s downtown office, cited Moses’ “wide knowledge of employment law, particularly with respect to wage-and-hour class actions.”

But he also cross-specializes in disputes involving intellectual capital, such as theft of trade secrets and breach of noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements.

“It’s one of the big trends,” he said. “Because of the economy and California’s tech bubble bursting, employers are aggressively seeking to protect intellectual capital and employees, sometimes inadvertently, are taking intellectual capital to find that next job.”

Moses, 38, said his specialization in those kinds of cases was born partly out of personal curiosity. He also lectures on the legal issues that social media presents for employers.


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