One of the biggest trial lawyers in Los Angeles has a new home. Marshall Grossman, long a go-to name in high-stakes “bet the company” litigation, has moved to the downtown L.A. office of San Francisco’s Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe from Bingham McCutchen. Joining him is intellectual property litigator Stacy Harrison, his partner in several major cases.
Legal industry watchers said the duo’s move is a blow to Bingham, which has dropped to 80 attorneys in Los Angeles from 110 four years ago, and a reputational coup for Orrick, which is seeking to deepen its local bench of trial attorneys.
Grossman has represented clients ranging from J.K. Rowling to Frank McCourt. He once obtained a $600 million settlement for Grupo Televisa against Univision in 2009. The 74-year-old said he has no plans to retire and estimated that his book of business combined with Harrison’s exceeded $10 million a year.
“I was looking for an opportunity to recharge my batteries,” Grossman said of the move. “Orrick is recognized as one of the strongest litigation practices in California, and their litigation depth (will well serve) our clients.”
Harrison said Orrick’s talent pool in entertainment litigation and real estate specifically was appealing. The firm also agreed to open a Westside office partly to accommodate Grossman and Harrison, who were previously at Bingham’s Santa Monica office.
Sandy Lechtick, head of Woodland Hills legal search firm Esquire Inc., said Grossman’s value goes beyond the book of business.
“I think that Orrick looked at him more for his marquee value, as somebody who could add cachet to the firm’s litigation practice and help attract others,” he said.
Bingham recently lost several environmental partners in Los Angeles to smaller firms. It has also lost several high-profile partners in other California offices, including William Abrams, former intellectual property group co-chairman, in 2012.
“I just don’t know what the strategy is for Bingham in California,” said Alan Miles, head of Santa Monica legal search firm Alan Miles and Associates Inc. “They were once very active and now they seem to be losing people.”
In an email statement, a Bingham spokesman said the firm was continuing to invest in Southern California, citing the hiring last year of intellectual property heavyweight Richard de Bodo and corporate partner Chris Riley.
“We remain committed to California and the Southern California region. … We continually make strategic and selective investments in our core practices – both in the region and globally.”
Westwood firm Liner is planning to open a law office and development services company in downtown Los Angeles, prompted by the hiring of real estate partners Jerry Neuman and Michael Kiely from downtown’s Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton.
Neuman said that in discussing the move with principal Stuart Liner, he requested that the firm open a downtown office as well as a development services company. He made the move because Liner was receptive to the idea. He also wanted to lower his rates and use more alternative fee arrangements, which he will also be able to do at Liner.
“I have seen the market changing on fee structures as well as the means of working with clients, and it became apparent that having a more entrepreneurial approach would be a model that would be a better fit for me,” he said.
Neuman, 51, said his book of business last year was $3.8 million. He is working on several projects downtown, including the potential acquisition of two hotel sites, and expects Liner’s new office downtown to open within 90 days.
The still-unnamed development services company, which will occupy the same office, is envisioned as a one-stop shop for development and entitlement needs, including nonlegal work such as community relations or structuring project labor agreements.
Glaser Weil Move
Another Westside firm new to downtown is Century City’s Glaser Weil. Glaser’s opening late last year of a new outpost at 333 S. Hope St. – only the second office for the firm – was also prompted by a recent hire, government affairs attorney Tim McOsker.
McOsker worked at Glaser previously, but left in 2008 for the downtown offices of Mayer Brown in part because his practice pulled him there. At the time, Glaser wasn’t willing to open an office there, but times have changed.
“Our thinking shifted,” said Peter Weil, firm managing partner. “That wasn’t a priority at the time. … As things developed and certain practice areas grew, it became a priority.”
McOsker, 51, is the new co-chairman of the firm’s government and regulatory law practice. He is a former chief of staff to Mayor Jim Hahn and former chief deputy city attorney for Los Angeles.
“My practice grew along with the synergies with Glaser Weil and the opportunity to open downtown presented itself as a reasonable proposition,” he said.
Staff reporter Alfred Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.
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