Latham & Watkins has appointed a new managing partner for its Century City and downtown L.A. offices.

Jeff Greenberg, a member of the firm’s project finance and development practice, officially began his term as head of Latham’s global headquarters on March 1. He replaced Jim Beaubien, who spent six years at the helm.

Greenberg, a 20-year veteran of the firm, said his directive was simple: continue to build upon the successes of his predecessor.

“I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” he said. “We’re extremely proud of what we have here in the city already and my primary goal is to build on this success.”

The firm has 229 attorneys in the L.A. area split between the two offices. Founded in 1934, it is ranked as the highest-grossing law firm in the world, according to annual calculations from American Lawyer. It pulled in an estimated $2.6 billion in 2014, the latest year that figures were available.

Greenberg said the key to the firm’s success is an integrated system whereby attorneys view business development from a global perspective.

“We want to approach client relationships as a firm, not as individuals or as offices,” he said. “Whether lawyers are based in New York or L.A., we want the best lawyers on the case regardless of location.”

Even though management positions at Latham come in addition to an attorney’s full-time practice rather than in lieu of them, Greenberg said the added responsibility is an honor.

“This is really exciting for me,” Greenberg said. “The chance to lead my fellow Los Angeles attorneys at Latham is a special opportunity.”

Pioneering Pays Off

Forty years ago, a solitary attorney specializing in labor and employment law set up shop in Los Angeles as the only member of Philadelphia’s Morgan Lewis & Bockius stationed west of the Mississippi River.

It’s difficult to remember those humble origins – neither of the firm’s co-managing partners in Los Angeles could name the pioneering lawyer – when viewing the office’s position in the city’s legal hierarchy today. With 38 partners and more than 100 attorneys in its downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica offices, firm leaders said they now compete for clients with some of the biggest names in the region thanks to a selective growth strategy.

“We’ve done very well growing smartly,” said David Schrader, the firm’s co-managing partner in Los Angeles. “We only bring in people that are a culture fit and help our clients. We’re not interested in growing just to increase the size of the office.”

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