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LOS ANGELES-Robert Kovelman, the head of Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner’s intellectual property practice in Los Angeles, left for Steptoe & Johnson LLP last week, bringing with him three attorneys from Brown’s 16-lawyer office here. The departure comes as New York-based Brown Raysman is wrapping up talks to merge with Thelen Reid & Priest. Kovelman would not comment publicly on whether the impending merger had a role in his departure. “I chose Steptoe because I like the platform, the skill sets and the collegiality,” he said. “I felt like I was coming home.” Bringing along clients Kovelman brings with him of counsel Brooke Quist and associates Vanessa Owen and Andy Chen. He also brings clients including Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. and Bally Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of gaming systems. The move “is going to give me entry to clients I didn’t have entry to before, and it’s going to give me a level of integrity and respect to expand my practice,” he said. Peter Brown, a name partner at Brown Raysman, did not return calls seeking comment. The additions are a coup for Washington-based Steptoe, which has been beefing up its presence in Los Angeles since the opening of its Century City office earlier this year, said recruiter Larry Watanabe, whose firm brokered the deal.

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