Once fierce competitors, Paul Derby and Paul Skiermont are now partners.

The two trial lawyers met years ago when they faced off in several national debate competitions during college. Rivalry aside, Derby and Skiermont became good friends and kept in touch even though they’ve never lived in the same city.

While Derby is still in Los Angeles and Skiermont remains in Dallas, the longtime friends have merged their respective law firms to create Skiermont Derby – something they’ve dreamed about doing since they attended law school.

“You see a lot of each other when you do college debate at the highest level, so we’ve always been friends,” Derby said. “We were ushers in each other’s weddings.”

Derby’s former firm, Derby Curtis, was a commercial litigation boutique in downtown Los Angeles with four attorneys, each of whom joined the new firm. The office will remain in its present location.

The small shop is now part of a 14-lawyer network that will continue to handle commercial litigation. The firm’s team in Dallas, which is also staying in the same office, mostly handles patent, trademark and other intellectually property disputes.

“The effect of the merger will be to diversify Dallas slightly,” Derby said. “But I think, more importantly, we’ll reup our work in IP here in L.A.”

Ultimately, Derby expects to begin hiring more lawyers for his local office to help bolster its new concentration in intellectual property.

“I would almost guarantee it,” said Derby, who was named managing partner of the combined firm.

Pushing Ahead

After years of frustrating setbacks, Burbank medical technology developer Imaging3 Inc. is finally ready to get out of court and back to business.

The company, which develops a medical device that produces 3-D diagnostic images of the human body, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2013 after its reorganization plan was approved in court.

But that plan, which would essentially convert its debt into equity, was delayed several times after a minority shareholder appealed it multiple times.

Imaging3 was guided through the process by Brian Davidoff, chairman of the bankruptcy and financial restructuring group at Century City’s Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger.

The delays now seem to be over since a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the dissenting shareholder’s argument and gave Imaging3 its blessing to move forward, Davidoff said.

“He has been very persistent and notwithstanding,” he said. “Three courts have ruled against him. It’s not that typical but obviously you do see it happen.”

Now, Imaging3 plans to convert its debt to equity, meaning its creditors will become shareholders in the company, Davidoff said.

The company is working with the Securities and Exchange Commission in hopes of being able to trade its stock publicly to raise additional working capital.

“That’s the key for them,” Davidoff said. “They’re pretty close to getting all that done.”

L.A. Promotions

Arent Fox partner Aaron H. Jacoby has taken over the managing partner role at the firm’s downtown L.A. office. Jacoby has replaced Robert C. O’Brien, who plans to open his own litigation boutique downtown alongside former Arent Fox partner Stephen G. Larson. … Jeff Atkin has been named managing partner of Foley & Lardner’s downtown L.A. office, succeeding Jack Lasater, chairman of the firm’s business law department. … Baker & Hostetler has promoted Ashley M. McDow to partner in the firm’s Brentwood office. … Elaine Adam has been promoted to partner in the Torrance office of Bowman and Brooke. … Century City’s Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside has elevated Michael D. Schmitt, Matthew J. Mahan and Shai N. Halbe to partners. … Justin Garratt, Monee Takla Hanna, Aggie Lee and Amanda Villalobos have been promoted to counsel at Tucker Ellis’ downtown L.A. office. The firm also promoted Joshua Wes to partner. … Nicholas Melzer has been elevated to partner from senior counsel in the downtown L.A. office of Holland & Knight. … Tressler has promoted Jennifer S. Perdigao to partner in the firm’s Century City office.

New Hires

Michael C. Cohen, former head of Morrison & Foerster’s corporate practice group in downtown Los Angeles, has joined Blank Rome in its Century City office. … Beverly Hills’ Eisner Jaffe has snagged four litigators from Dickstein Shapiro’s Century City office, including James Turken, who has served as managing partner of the local Dickstein Shapiro office. Turken was joined by Rebecca Lawlor Calkins, who was hired as partner; Fawn A. Schanz, of counsel; and Christopher Kadish, associate. … Andrea Wang Lucan has moved from the downtown L.A. office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton to join K&L Gates in Century City as a partner. … Erin K. Tenner has left the law office she launched more than two years ago to join Encino’s Gray Duffy as partner.

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

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