The announcement that local attorneys C. James Levin and Warren Loui have joined Winston & Strawn LLP as partners means that the firm finally has attorneys to handle corporate transactions in its downtown L.A. office.

It’s the kind of move that management of the Chicago-based firm had been looking to make since coming to Los Angeles in 1999 but only really focused on this year, said Laura Petroff, managing partner of the downtown office.

“We’ve had some growth in the San Francisco office the last few years and now we’re turning our attention to Southern California,” Petroff said. “We identified corporate transactional work as something we were interested in targeting because we didn’t have sufficient depth in the area in Los Angeles.”

Levin, 56, was a partner and former co-chair of the mergers and acquisitions-private equity group at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and has represented companies such as Occidental Petroleum and former delivery company Airborne Express in acquisitions.

“The idea of building a corporate presence in Los Angeles sounded very attractive to me as a new opportunity,” Levin said. “When I heard about Warren’s interest in joining Winston, that sealed the deal for me.”

Loui, 54, comes from Chicago-based Mayer Brown LLP, and previously worked with Levin as a partner at O’Melveny from 1986 to 2004. His practice has recently focused heavily on securitization work for clients including Nissan Motor Co.

Loui and Levin are working to bring over associates from their former firms.

“It is our plan to continue to grow the transactional practice in the office,” Petroff said. “We’re working very closely with Warren and Jim to put together a cohesive plan.”

Hourly Billing

Last year, former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP marketing executives Karen Pordum and Courtney DiCarlo founded Legally Organized Inc., a concierge service for L.A. lawyers. But business for the service, which attorneys can use for everything from organizing closets to booking lunches or buying gifts, hasn’t been what they’d hoped.

“Obviously, the economy has had an impact, but it’s also sort of a paradigm shift for people,” Pordum said. “No one thinks twice about hiring a cleaning person and outsourcing the cleaning of their house, but outsourcing other things on the to-do list is not as natural.”

Still, the summer saw a boost in the number of Legally Organized’s clients. Currently, the active client list is around 25 people; there are an additional 50 or so attorneys registered who use the service less frequently. The company’s website features testimonials from partners at area law firms Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP and Quinn Emanuel.

Another obstacle to growth was that potential clients were unaccustomed to the previous pricing system, which requires attorneys to pay for points that could then be used for certain tasks. Pordum is hoping that a new system that’s based on the more lawyer-friendly pricing model of hourly billing fixes that issue.

“Even though there’s this movement in the legal profession to get away from the hourly rate, when we polled clients we found they couldn’t get their heads around the pricing unless it was hourly,” she said.

The Bard App

Attorneys wanting to know what the Lady Macbeth strategy is can now look up Wall Street jargon on an iPhone application published by Latham & Watkins LLP.

The firm launched its free app, the Book of Jargon, last Tuesday, and by Thursday had seen it downloaded 2,500 times. Since 2008, Latham has been publishing a print edition of “The Book of Jargon,” a glossary of Wall Street terms available on the firm’s website, but decided this year to convert to an iPhone format.

“It’s just easier and more discreet for somebody to take it to a meeting. And if they’re throwing around terms you don’t know, you can look it up and don’t have to worry about carrying around a book,” said Alex Cohen, co-chair of the firm’s capital markets group.

The coding and product development was done mainly in the firm’s downtown L.A. office, while the glossary was put together by Cohen, who works in Washington, D.C., and Kirk Davenport, the other co-chair of the capital markets group and a partner in the firm’s New York office.

Ken Heaps, chief information officer in the firm’s downtown office, said he and others in the firm’s technology department had considered releasing an iPhone app that was just a directory of Latham attorneys and offices, as other firms have done.

“We had talked about doing something like that a long time ago, but we wanted to do something that’s useful to a broad range of people,” Heaps said.

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

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