After serving as the acting U.S. attorney for the Central District of California for about a year, Stephanie Yonekura last week returned to private practice.

Yonekura joined the Century City office of Hogan Lovells as a partner in the firm’s investigations, white collar and fraud practice group. In the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she was the head federal law enforcement officer who represented the government in a slew of high-stakes securities fraud cases.

Upon her departure from the public sector, Yonekura said that she received several offers from L.A.-area law firms. She ultimately chose Hogan Lovells, which has more than 45 offices around the world, for its massive global platform.

“Specifically, in the offices around the various countries, they have people in the expertise area that I’m planning to focus on,” she said. “That’s really exciting to me because I think the practice of law is really becoming international.”

Hogan Lovells had 42 attorneys in its Century City office as of March, according to Business Journal data. A year prior, it had 27.

That growth, Yonekura said, also played a role in her decision.

Barry Dastin, managing partner of the firm’s Century City outpost, welcomed Yonekura last week with high praise for her work as the top U.S. attorney for the largest office outside of Washington, D.C.

“Stephanie is held in high regard by her fellow U.S. attorneys across the country and has strong relationships with key players in regulated industries,” Dastin said in a statement. “In addition to taking advantage of Hogan Lovells’ platform enabling her to connect with clients from around the world, Stephanie will play a major role in our growing L.A. office, which focuses on media and entertainment, health care, automotive and defense aerospace, energy, technology and real estate.”

Yonekura departed the Justice Department after Eileen Decker, L.A.’s former deputy mayor for homeland security and public safety, was sworn in as U.S. attorney for the district June 29.

Elevator Pitch

In the Century City office of Polsinelli, many of the 33 lawyers on staff will now being seeing a lot more of their colleagues.

That’s because the Kansas City, Mo., firm this month relocated its L.A. beachhead into consecutive floors atop 2049 Century Park East, one of the twin Century Plaza towers. Before the move, Polsinelli lawyers were divided between the building’s 8th and 23rd floors and “two elevator rides apart,” said Lisa Greer Quateman, managing partner of the local office.

Polsinelli leased about 26,000 square feet on the higher floor when it first expanded into Los Angeles in 2011. But after the firm acquired 18 lawyers from McKenna Long & Aldridge last year, it had to take on a temporary lease on a separate floor to make room.

“We took a good amount of space,” Quateman said. “Yet we found our growth really outpaced that space that we first leased.”

Now, bolstered with more than 56,500 square feet, Polsinelli has plenty of capacity to start growing again. The new space will allow the firm to accommodate its plan to more than double its attorney count in Los Angeles.

In particular, Quateman said she’s looking to hire more attorneys in the real estate and financial services practice areas.

“The firm is very strategic about growth,” she said. “We are, at the same time, optimistic that the new space will help attract the lateral attorneys we want.”

More Moves

Brad S. Small, a former Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger associate, has rejoined the Century City firm as a partner after serving as executive vice president of TV business and legal affairs at the Weinstein Co. … Lathrop & Gage has hired Eric Witt as an associate in its Century City office. Witt previously practiced at Palmer Kazanjian Wohl Hodson in Sacramento. Lathrop & Gage has also hired Phillip Maltin, formerly at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, as a partner in Century City. … Wendy Wen Yun Chang, partner in the West L.A. office of Hinshaw & Culbertson, has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s standing committee on ethics and professional responsibility. …Clay Friedman and Chad Hummel, former partners at Manatt Phelps & Phillips, have joined Sidley Austin’s Century City office. … Nixon Peabody has added Raquel L. Aragón to its intellectual property practice in downtown Los Angeles. Aragón joined from Foley & Lardner. … Dentons has hired Carl R. Steen as a partner in its downtown L.A. office. Steen, former partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, is the 50th lateral to join Dentons since the firm announced its merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge in April. … Littler Mendelson has named Naomi Sheridan a shareholder in its Century City office. …Venable has named Mitch Evall partner in charge of its Century City office. Douglas Emhoff, who formerly served in that role, is now managing director of the firm’s West Coast operations, including offices in Century City and San Francisco.

Staff reporter Cale Ottens can be reached at cottens@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.

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