Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
LOS ANGELES � Don’t call Ballard an Eastern firm anymore. In August, Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll became the latest Eastern U.S. firm to open an office in Los Angeles, snagging four partners in recent months from Baker Hostetler, including David Sampson, its former managing partner in Los Angeles. Ballard has grand plans in Los Angeles. Lawyers at the firm, which historically specialized in real estate and public finance, expect to recruit in relatively new practice areas, such as intellectual property and high-stakes employment litigation. They also plan to expand the office to 50 lawyers. The move comes one year after Ballard opened offices in Las Vegas and Phoenix. And the firm isn’t finished yet. “We have almost 600 lawyers, and a quarter of them are in the West,” said Arthur Makadon, Ballard’s chairman. “We’re no longer an Eastern firm. The hope is that within a few years, half our lawyers will be in the West.” Ballard’s lawyers practice in public finance and real estate, primarily affordable housing and development. The firm, founded in 1886, also has strong practices in commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense and business and finance. Two years ago, Ballard’s lawyers hailed primarily in the East, with offices in Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington; Wilmington, Del.; and Voorhees, N.J., with Western outposts in Denver and Salt Lake City. Clients have included Johns Hopkins University, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. But the firm’s lawyers had begun looking West in 2000, Makadon said. “We were looking at parts of the country that are rich, that are growing and seemed to have booming economies that fit with our practice,” he said. In July 2006, Ballard opened a Las Vegas office, bringing in the name partners of Curran & Parry. One month later, the firm opened an office in Phoenix with two senior partners from Phoenix-based Fennemore Craig, with which Ballard had failed to merge in 2005. Ballard continued its expansion with a small outpost opening in September 2006 in Bethesda, Md. The firm’s lawyers are considering additional offices in Northern California, the Northwest and into Latin America and the Pacific Rim. “Our practice, quite frankly, will take us overseas,” Makadon said. Much competition Latin America is a prime market among several of Ballard’s nine Los Angeles lawyers. That expertise is immeasurable, said Jorge de la Osa, corporate counsel at Sol Meli� Vacation Club, the resort division of Sol Meli�, a hotel chain based in Spain. Since 2004, he has worked with Letvia Arza-Goderich and Scott Preston, both former Baker Hostetler lawyers who joined Ballard. “There are few major U.S. firms that have the ability and the contacts throughout the Caribbean to get us up and running,” de la Osa said. Sampson said he is looking to expand in Los Angeles with small acquisitions in employment and commercial litigation. He also said the firm is focusing on intellectual property litigation, particularly involving patents and biotech companies. But Ballard faces immense competition in Los Angeles. “The hardest problem with growing in Los Angeles is the fact that there is so much competition from so many good firms,” said Sampson, who left Baker after 23 years. “Unless they come in and start with a good California base, it’s going to be very difficult for them to go anywhere.” In the past few years, about half a dozen firms, most from the East Coast, have expanded or opened in this sprawling metropolis, hoping to cash in on the growth of middle market companies. Those firms include Washington’s Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Venable; Philadelphia’s Duane Morris; and Richmond, Va.’s Hunton & Williams and McGuireWoods. Those competitors have higher profits than Ballard, where each partner averaged $515,000 last year. But Makadon downplayed concerns, saying that the firm’s profits this year have seen “healthy growth. “We have managed, so far, to compete, and I’m confident we’ll be able to compete,” he said.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.