Sidley Austin is making quick progress in its expansion into Century City.

The firm has hired Matthew Thompson, a prominent media and entertainment lawyer, from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan as partner and co-head of its media practice group at the new office.

“It’s a very important initial step to bring someone of Matt’s stature in the media and entertainment industry in the firm,” said Mike Kelley, co-managing partner of Sidley’s L.A. offices. “I’m confident it will help us continue to build that practice.”

Thompson, who worked alongside Schuyler “Sky” Moore in the entertainment practice at Stroock for nearly 25 years, is the first addition to Sidley’s media practice.

Neither Thompson nor Moore was available for comment. But it does not appear Moore has plans to follow Thompson to Sidley.

“We wish Matt well and are confident that our entertainment practice group under the leadership of Sky Moore, one of the most recognized industry leaders, will continue to flourish,” said Julia B. Strickland, managing partner of Stroock’s Century City office, in a statement.

Kelley is confident that Sidley will soon entice more lawyers to join the new group.

“I don’t expect it will be the last, but it is the first,” Kelley said. “We expect that Matt will help us attract additional top talent in the media and entertainment industry.”

Sidley also announced last month that it had hired Dan Clivner, a prominent corporate and private equity attorney, to serve as co-managing partner. Clivner, longtime head of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in Century City, officially made the move last week, Kelley said.

Meantime, the firm has finalized its lease for the Century City office and is expected to move into the SunAmerica Center this week. It will occupy the entire 17th floor, which Kelley estimates is about 22,000 square feet.

Juggling Jobs

Launching a startup is a tough task for any entrepreneur, especially if you have to balance the workload of another job.

But that wasn’t enough to stop Ann Lawrence, partner in the downtown L.A. office of DLA Piper. About this time last year, she launched Pink51, an online platform that connects shoppers with retailers that have women in leadership roles.

“I choose passion over balance,” Lawrence said. “If you love what you do, you have so much energy to do it. … But let’s just say I won’t ever be getting a manicure – that’s time I can’t waste.”

Pink51 partners with businesses that either have a woman chief executive, at least 20 percent of its board members are women or if it’s at least half-owned by a woman. It started with 10 businesses, most of which were owned by Lawrence’s friends. Now, more than 500 companies have teamed up with Pink51, including Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Best Buy.

The startup generates revenue whenever an online shopper buys a product from a partner business through the Pink51 website.

Pink51 is entirely self-funded, Lawrence said, and isn’t yet profitable; all of its revenue is reinvested into the startup. But Pink51 is on pace to produce a profit by the end of this year, she noted.

Lawrence hatched the idea for Pink51 about two years ago when she was shopping.

“It all started with a handbag,” she said. “I wanted to make sure I was supporting a business that’s got women in leadership. … But that was so hard to figure out. The problem is there is no transparency.”

After doing some research, Lawrence found that leadership roles are oftentimes undisclosed by retailers. She then figured she could make money by connecting shoppers with companies that have strong female leadership. At the same time, she expected more companies will promote women to executive roles.

“We have the power of the purse,” she said. “If a million women shopped with a purpose, the very next day more women would be in the C-Suite.”

Lawrence has maintained her full-time position at DLA Piper, where she primarily serves as outside legal counsel to private and public companies, while running Pink51.

“I’ve had to become much more efficient,” she said. “I think it has made me more productive because I’m focused on getting everything done.”

Legal Landscape

New York’s Law Firm of Ekaterina Mouratova has opened its first L.A. office. Housed in Century City, the firm debuted its Startup Law Center. … Ann Marie Mortimer, managing partner of Hunton & Williams’ downtown L.A. office, was tapped last month to join the firm’s executive committee. She was also elected to head its environmental and energy litigation practice. … Melanie Joo has joined the Century City office of Thompson Coburn as partner.

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

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