There’s one partner at Westwood law firm Liner who’s such an institution that he’s actually written into the terms of the lease. But he’s never tried a case or reviewed a contract. His name is Fred, and he’s a bearded collie.

The dog, which belongs to managing partner Stuart Liner, can be seen at the firm five days a week, wandering in and out of conference rooms and personal offices.

“He works the same hours we do,” said Randy Sunshine, a founding partner.

Management of the firm, which is home to big legal names including entertainment litigator Stanton “Larry” Stein and former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, negotiated to allow Fred in the office about 10 years ago. The firm’s website lists the dog as a partner and boasts that he graduated from obedience school with “high honors in fetch, rolling over and shaking paws.”

Jokes aside, Sunshine said that the dog’s presence has its advantages.

“When he walks in the room, he has engendered a peacefulness that has resulted in good things happening in negotiations,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times opposing counsel said, ‘I didn’t know dogs were allowed in the office.’ Then we explain the situation, and all of a sudden you’re talking about dogs rather than why your clients hate each other.”

Banker, Midfielder

On weekdays, Jesse Torres is the chief executive of East L.A. lender Pan American Bank. But on Sundays, he’s a midfielder and manager for the Hermosa Beach Soccer Club’s 40-and-over team.

That’s part of the South Bay Peninsula Soccer League, which has three age divisions and 31 teams. Torres, 46, said his team has been on a slide for the past couple of seasons and he’s looking to recruit new players.

But be warned: This is not the soccer equivalent of church league softball.

“It’s not a rec league. It’s extremely competitive,” said Torres, who played for a local semi-pro team in college.

The vast majority of the league’s team members played varsity soccer in college and there are some former pros as well. Until a couple of years ago, ESPN soccer analyst and former U.S. national soccer team member Alexi Lalas played for Hermosa Beach.

“It’s very demanding. You don’t have to be in World Cup shape, but you’ve got to work out a couple of times a week,” Torres said. “People say, ‘Gosh, at your age, you still play?’ But then they come watch and they’re shocked at the speed of the game.”

Staff reporters Alfred Lee and James Rufus Koren contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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