Manatt Digital Media has hired Eunice Shin to head its business consulting services, capping off nearly a year of growth for the new investment and consulting arm of West L.A. law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips.

The division was founded last spring to further position the firm in the burgeoning digital media and entertainment scene; it provides legal services, business consulting and venture capital in the space.

Shin fits the division’s criteria and will boost the firm, said Chief Executive Peter Csathy.

“We’ve been looking for the right person to be the senior business consultant at Manatt Digital Media,” Csathy said.

Shin, 39, will provide digital transformation knowhow to clients across a range of industries, including banking and health care. Shin has been consulting for the media and entertainment industry for 18 years, most recently at Cognizant Technology Solutions.

“A lot of consulting companies are investing in Los Angeles,” she said, “but not that many are truly at the heart of digital media.”

Manatt Digital Media, spearheaded by Chairman T. Hale Boggs, has expanded quickly, nearly doubling its number of employees to about 50 in its first 11 months. The division has made investments ranging from $25,000 to $500,000 in about 10 companies, including Encino YouTube network DanceOn and MovieLaLa, a social network for movie fans.

Entertainment Expansion

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith has grown to become the largest law firm in Los Angeles by attorney head count as it caters to the middle market, taking on high volumes of litigation work at lower or more flexible rates than white-shoe firms.

Those traits also helped it recently recruit Jonathan Pink, its new entertainment practice co-chairman and the former head of entertainment, media and Internet practice in the L.A. outpost of St. Louis’ Bryan Cave.

“It has a very deep litigation bench, which suited my clients particularly well,” said Pink, 52, who handles litigation for entertainment clients. “There were and continue to be certain clients who could not really stomach the rates I was charging at Bryan Cave, and here I have the ability to service even those clients.”

He also said the firm’s nimble management, along with the fact that he would be close to firm decision-makers, including Managing Partner Robert Lewis in Los Angeles, were factors in his move.

Traditionally an insurance litigation powerhouse, Lewis Brisbois has been looking to expand further in the intellectual property and entertainment areas, said Dan DeCarlo, co-chairman of the firm’s intellectual property and technology group.

“There is a great need for high-quality services without pushing the envelope to $700, $800, $900 an hour,” said DeCarlo. “There’s space in the marketplace for that and we’re filling that need. That’s what’s driving the expansion.”

Pink said his book of business exceeds $1 million annually, and his clients include music publisher BMG Rights Management as well as musician and writer Henry Rollins.

High-Level Hire

Eric Reimer has left his position as head of corporate finance for downtown L.A. powerhouse O’Melveny & Myers, joining the local office of New York’s Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

Reimer, who said his annual book of business is between $5 million and $6 million, cited Milbank’s greater depth in bankruptcy and finance in New York as a reason for the move. His clients include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Oaktree Capital and Avenue Capital.

“The fit was quite good for me, to have the depth and the breadth of the New York office with Milbank to partner with,” he said.

Reimer, 52, was based primarily in New York while at O’Melveny, but has moved to Los Angeles for Milbank. He will help with expanding the firm’s finance practice.

“There are very solid finance people at Milbank in L.A., and now adding me gives a little bit more top-end help,” he said. “Having a former group head of a major firm come into Milbank and help them grow market share and grow the group itself certainly was part of what made sense for them.”

O’Melveny has not had many high-profile defections since suffering a partner exodus in 2011. It was helped by a record year in terms of profits per partner and revenue per lawyer in 2012. But profits and revenue slid 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively, last year due to fewer large success fees, according to American Lawyer magazine.

Reimer said his move was unrelated to the firm’s financial performance.

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

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