Jordan Yospe has long been known for having one of the more unusual practices in entertainment law. When companies want their brands shown in movies and on television, he doesn’t just cut a traditional product placement deal. Instead, he advises writers and producers on brand integration during the early stages of production – sometimes writing the dialogue himself.

Now, Yospe is moving into something even more unconventional. Last month, he jumped from West L.A. firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP to Beverly Hills boutique Eisner Kahan & Gorry, where he will split time between working as an attorney for the firm and as a principal at a new television, new-media and mobile content company that might end up based in the firm’s offices.

“I’m kind of in between a business person and a regular practicing lawyer,” he said. “Eisner Kahan welcomes that kind of thing. It’s difficult for a more established firm.”

At his new firm, Yospe, 50, will be working on business development and strategy for the new company, which includes a major telecom as a principal shareholder. The details are still being worked out; the company doesn’t even have a name yet.

But he will also continue his practice representing clients such as Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, Sears and K-Mart in brand integration.

“This isn’t advertising. You have to do it carefully,” he said. “Brands that want to be involved in a meaningful way in storylines and in the creative process – those are the brands I work with.”

Complementary Practice

Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw LLP is best known for its labor and employment practice. But the firm has added Scott M. Pearson, a litigator experienced in defending financial institutions, as partner in its Century City office. He gives it a complementary new practice in Los Angeles.

Pearson will co-chair a new consumer financial services litigation group for the firm. His work defending banks and credit card companies against class-action lawsuits dovetailed with his new firm’s work defending clients against class-action labor and employment complaints as well as its expansion into defense of consumer-driven class-actions.

“Seyfarth Shaw has been expanding its litigation group into other practice areas and this is a natural progression,” he said. Recently, he has seen an uptick in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions over advertising practices, and also expects to see more work related to investigations by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Pearson, 43, said he worked at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP for 18 years without ever really looking to move. When he finally decided to explore other opportunities, he was attracted to Seyfarth’s emphasis on working with clients to cut down on litigation expenses and inefficiencies. More money didn’t hurt either.

“My compensation increased dramatically,” he said. “I wasn’t being paid for business I was originating (at Stroock).”

Insurance Expansion

Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP, a New York-based insurance law firm with more than 90 attorneys, has moved into the L.A. market with a new downtown office.

The new outpost, at 626 Wilshire Blvd., launched with two partners, Bob Dennison and Kevin McNamara, and an associate.

Dennison, 56, was previously at boutique firm Harris Green & Dennison, while McNamara, 43, comes from downtown L.A. firm Harrington Foxx Dubrow & Canter LLP.

The New York firm, which represents insurance companies, has been growing during the downturn, adding three offices in the last four years. Dennison and McNamara are looking to hire and plan to expand to six attorneys by the end of the year.

Dennison said the firm was small enough to offer flexible rates compared with larger firms, while still large enough to offer national support and referrals.

“That’s helpful in the area of insurance coverage,” he said. “It’s a part of the law that knows no state boundaries. It does help for us to have that support in the larger offices while we’re getting going.”

The two are seeing more work from smaller insurance companies getting involved in the construction defects insurance market, as well as a continuing flurry of litigation related to insurance coverage in silica and asbestos lawsuits.

News & Notes

Brian L. Davidoff and his practice group have finally completed the long-planned jump to Century City firm Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, where Davidoff now heads the bankruptcy and financial restructuring group.

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

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