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Farella Braun & Martel has tapped 23-year veteran Steven Lowenthal as its new chairman, effective July 1. The San Francisco-based firm’s 64 partners unanimously named Lowenthal to the post at a special meeting Friday. He succeeds William Schlinkert, who announced in March that he would be stepping down after nine years as chair. A number of partners were nominated early in the selection process, but only Lowenthal’s name was submitted to the partnership. Lowenthal has spent his entire career at Farella, joining the firm in 1982 from Stanford Law School. Praising the firm’s culture, he noted that Farella was named last week by American City Business Journals Inc., publisher of the San Francisco Business Times, as one of the top 100 places to work in the Bay Area. “It’s filled with great people, top to bottom,” Lowenthal said. “We’ve had a run of excellent years, and this is another one.” The 125-lawyer Farella had gross revenues of $67 million in 2004. Lowenthal’s commercial litigation practice includes defending unfair competition claims under California Business & Professions Code �17200, fiduciary duty issues and real estate litigation. He has been involved in firm management for many years, serving as chair of the litigation department and on the firm’s executive committee and advisory board. Lowenthal said he plans to continue to expand all of the firm’s five practice areas, which include commercial litigation, intellectual property, environmental and products liability, real estate and commercial transactions. During Schlinkert’s term, the firm doubled in size and maintained profitability at a time of industry consolidation. Farella is considered one of the most desirable merger candidates in the Bay Area, but Lowenthal reiterated his predecessor’s commitment to remaining independent. “We’re approached all the time,” he said. “We’re always willing to listen, but we value our culture and the people we have and have chosen to go this route.”

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