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Sunday, Jun 4, 2023

Philadelphia Firm Doubles Up on L.A. Pickups

Philadelphia’s Blank Rome has absorbed two boutique L.A. firms, its biggest hiring move here since opening an office in Century City nearly five years ago.

The acquisition of attorneys from Margolis & Tisman and Finestone & Richter adds 15 lawyers to the firm’s L.A. outpost. Blank Rome now has 42 attorneys in Los Angeles, up from the five it opened with in 2009.

Gregory Bordo, administrative partner of Blank Rome’s Century City office, said the hires would greatly expand the office’s capabilities. Margolis & Tisman worked closely with Chinese and South Korean clients doing business in the United States, while Finestone & Richter focused on corporate, and trusts and estates work.

“It’s always been the plan to have a full-service office in Los Angeles,” Bordo said. “We were very fortunate to find two groups that have practices that not only complement one another but the existing practices in Los Angeles.”

Mike Margolis, 59, said that an increase in work from Chinese and South Korean clients required his former firm to join a larger one. In addition to clients from those countries, his firm also represented American companies that serve Korean or Chinese communities in the United States, such as Pasadena’s East West Bank. About half of its business also came from business law work for non-Asian clients.

“The Chinese businesses and entrepreneurs coming into and operating in the United States were really increasing very fast,” he said. “We knew that our platform wouldn’t allow us to really serve that market in a significant way, so when we were approached by Blank Rome, we started exploring that.”

Attorneys from Margolis & Tisman will also open a San Francisco office for Blank Rome.

Litigation Addition

Silicon Valley’s Cooley has become a go-to firm for the L.A. startup scene since opening a Santa Monica office in 2012, representing tech companies and financiers alike in a flurry of deals. Now, the outpost has added its first litigation partner, Bill Donovan, a trial lawyer who made the jump from DLA Piper last week.

Donovan, 47, specializes in class-action cases, accounting malpractice matters and commercial litigation. In addition to bringing over large corporate clients, he will service the litigation needs of Cooley’s startup clients and build out the office’s new litigation practice.

“Cooley has made great strides and the office is doing incredibly well,” he said. “We intend to be aggressive in the L.A. market to bring in appropriate litigators and other lateral hires.”

The Santa Monica office now has 21 attorneys, up from the six it opened with in 2012. It has added more than 150 clients since opening, recently representing Glendale’s LegalZoom in its sale of a $200 million stake to European private equity firm Permira, Santa Monica’s ShoeDazzle in its sale to JustFab and Santa Monica’s Docstoc in a roughly $50 million sale to Intuit.

But the firm also wants a full-service office in the L.A. area, said Tom Hopkins, partner-in-charge of the Santa Monica outpost. In addition to corporate and transactional attorneys, the firm is interested in adding attorneys specializing in intellectual property, commercial litigation, real estate, and labor and employment.

“Diversifying our capabilities is an important part of what we’re trying to do here,” he said.

DLA Piper, the largest law firm in the world, now lists 68 L.A. attorneys on its website, down from 80 in 2012.


Veteran corporate attorney Bob Kahan has broken off from his former Beverly Hills firm and joined Westwood’s Liner in a move that reunites him with his professional partner of 33 years.

He will once again be working with entertainment litigator Stanton “Larry” Stein. The two worked together for decades at their own firm, which eventually folded into the now-defunct Dreier

firm. When Dreier collapsed after investment fraud charges against sole owner Marc Dreier, the two went their separate ways in 2009.

“We’re really identified together, and as time went on it was just more of a feeling that I really want to be back and practice with Larry,” Kahan said.

Kahan is a transactional attorney who counts former pro skater Tony Hawk and actress Suzanne Somers among his clients. He has also long represented Rick Rosenfeld and Larry Flax, co-founders of California Pizza Kitchen.

Kahan, 69, was previously a name partner at Eisner Kahan & Gorry, which is now Eisner Jaffe Gorry Chapman & Ross.

It’s the third big lateral hire of late for Liner, which picked up land-use lawyers Jerry Neuman and Michael Kiely from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in recent months and announced it will soon open a downtown L.A. office.

“We have been positioning for

strategic growth over the last few months. Part of our desire has been to expand upon the corporate practice,” said partner Angela Agrusa.

Liner now has 63 attorneys, up from recent years but down from a peak of 90 in 2008.

Staff reporter Alfred Lee can be reached at alee@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.

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