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Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has acquired New York’s Kalkines, Arky, Zall & Bernstein, a 42-lawyer firm focused on the health care industry. Apart from its Los Angeles headquarters, 270-lawyer Manatt has California offices in Palo Alto, Orange County and Sacramento. The firm’s second-largest office is in Washington, D.C. The merger with Kalkines Arky will give Manatt its first Manhattan presence and will also contribute a small Albany, N.Y., office to the combined firm. Partners at both firms described the merger, which followed six months of discussions, as a major boost to existing practices. Paul H. Irving, Manatt’s managing partner, noted that health care-oriented practices contributed about 10 percent of the firm’s revenue even before the merger with Kalkines Arky. “This is a chance to do something significant in a practice area that we’ve already had success in on the West Coast,” said Irving. Steven Polan, the managing partner of Kalkines Arky, said he expected the merger with Manatt to finally provide what the firm had long sorely lacked, a Washington, D.C., office. “We’ve always had lots of work in Washington,” he said, “but we never got around to having our own office.” Irving said regulatory expertise was a common thread running through Manatt’s primary practice groups, financial services and health care. He noted that the combined firm may be unique in having a presence in the state capitals of both New York and California, as well as Washington, D.C. Founded in 1988 by partners from the New York office of Houston’s now-defunct Wood, Lucksinger & Epstein, Kalkines Arky has represented a number of New York’s leading hospitals, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies, among them Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. Polan noted Kalkines Arky had expanded into practices beyond health care as well. A former general counsel for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Polan himself specializes in public infrastructure and transportation issues around the world. He recently represented the city of London in a partial privatization of the London Underground. Irving said Manatt’s core practice group in California was the representation of banks and other financial services companies in a variety of matters. He said he expected this group to grow in New York as well, raising the firm’s profile worldwide. “The world still looks to New York as a financial center,” he said. “That’s an important enough reason for us to be there.” New York’s status as a world media capital may also foretell the expansion of what may be Manatt’s best-known practice, its entertainment practice. Along with entertainment and media companies, Manatt has also represented a number of high-profile performers, including music stars such as the Rolling Stones and Neil Young, and movie stars such as Michael Douglas and Robin Williams. “I think we’ll definitely have entertainment in New York,” said Irving. “It’s the industry that most connects New York and L.A.”

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