With the 2016 election season quickly approaching, Sacramento political law firm Olson Hagel & Fishburn has opened an office in Long Beach to capitalize on an expected spike in demand.

Olson Hagel took over the office of California Political Law Inc. on Oct. 1 and hired its former president, Betty Ann Downing, as a senior attorney.

“We had been planning this for the better part of two years,” said Richard Rios, who’s now heading up the local office. “But it’s not a coincidence that we’re opening in October of an odd year. We think there is going to be a historic number of ballot measures on the ballot in 2016. … We’re hoping we can get a strong foothold in the Southern California market.”

Rios said he’ll divide his time between the new office and Sacramento. For now, Downing will be the only attorney based full time in Long Beach. The firm has 11 lawyers, including Downing, but that might soon increase.

“We’re going to see how this rolls out going forward,” Rios said. “If we’re able to achieve the growth like we think we will, then we will be looking to grow the attorney capacity.”

Olson Hagel, founded in 1977, advises clients on campaign finance laws, conflicts of interest, ethics and lobbying laws among other political practice areas.

“In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, there are so many jurisdictions and so many elections in all different municipalities,” Rios said. “So we thought there was definitely a need for an additional service provider.”

Rockin’ Out

When a group of attorneys at Latham & Watkins decided to form a rock band in late 2012 to compete in the next year’s battle of the bands contest staged by Law Rocks Inc., they never thought they would keep playing together after the charity event.

But sure enough, the band – Diversion – is still together and performs about a dozen shows a year.

“The original intent was just not to make fools of ourselves,” said Daniel Schecter, a partner in Latham’s Century City office who plays guitar for Diversion. “We set our bar very low.”

The band now plays at several charity events throughout the year, including last month’s Stair Climb for Los Angeles event hosted by Ketchum-Downtown YMCA at the U.S. Bank Tower.

Diversion, Schecter said, has also been asked by club promoters to perform about six shows a year.

Latham sponsors at least one local charity each time Diversion performs, helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars.

“It’s like I get to live a rock-’n’-roll lifestyle,” said Michele Johnson, partner in Latham’s Orange County office who plays the keyboard and sings backup for the band. “But every once in a while, we’ll have to take a break (during rehearsal) or someone will have to sit out a song to be on the computer for a client.”

Diversion’s other members include: Bob Steinberg, partner in the downtown L.A. office, drums; Brian Glennon, partner downtown, lead guitar; Tiffany Taubman, associate downtown, lead vocals; Robert Lontok, IT manager downtown, bass guitar; and JP Victoria, a former Latham staffer downtown, lead vocals.

Legal Landscape

Jeffrey L. Kateman has left Latham to join Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice group and co-leader of its private equity team in Century City. … Jack Schaedel, a former partner at Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan, has joined the downtown L.A. office of Dykema as a member of the firm’s labor and employment practice group. … Century City’s Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert Nessim Drooks Lincenberg & Rhow has promoted Timothy Yoo to a principal at the firm. It has also hired Ashley Bowman, Julian Burns, Kimberley Miller, Andrew Moshirnia and Fanxi Wang as associates. … Howard S. Fredman, partner at Fredman Lieberman Pearl in Century City, has been named president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s board. … Edward Stumpp, previously senior counsel at Sedgwick, has rejoined the firm as a partner in its downtown L.A. office. … Sacks Glazier Franklin & Lodise in downtown Los Angeles has hired Douglas E. Lawson and Eunice Y. Lim as associates. … Century City’s Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern has hired Justin D. Yi as a partner and Robert J. Smith as an associate. Both Yi and Smith made the move from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. … Lori Kozak, a former trademark-examining attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has joined the Century City office of Fox Rothschild as a partner. … Harry I. Johnson, a former member of the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, has been hired to the Santa Monica and downtown L.A. offices of Morgan Lewis & Bockius. … Robert A. Rivas has joined the downtown L.A. office of Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley as a partner. … L.A. hospitality company SBE Entertainment Group has hired Jim Greeley as chief legal officer.

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

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