Baker & Hostetler has hired Eric Sagerman, a restructuring lawyer and former managing partner of Winston & Strawn’s Los Angeles office, as the Cleveland-based firm seeks to build out its West Coast presence.
As managing partner of his new firm’s Los Angeles office, Sagerman will lead an effort to recruit West Coast lawyers to Baker & Hostetler. That will be a familiar role for Sagerman, who Baker & Hostetler said in a release had hired more than 60 lawyers while leading Winston & Strawn’s Los Angeles office.
“There is a palpable energy among the firm’s attorneys to take BakerHostetler to the next level,” Sagerman said in a statement. “There is a feeling of being on the ground floor of something special, and I look forward to helping the firm increase its momentum by broadening its roster of impressive attorneys on the West Coast.”
Sagerman’s New Year’s hire, announced Wednesday, coincides with a leadership transition at Baker & Hostetler. Paul Schmidt, a Washington, D.C.-based tax partner, at the start of the year assumed the chairman role, previously occupied for the past 14 years by R. Steven Kestner.
Baker & Hostetler’s release announcing the move said it represented an “intent to make a significant investment in Los Angeles and the West Coast.” The firm’s West Coast arm consists of offices in Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and Seattle, which have a combined presence of roughly 75 attorneys, according to the firm’s website.
In Seattle, Baker & Hostetler in June hired Douglas Grady, a former partner at Foster Pepper, which itself saw a number of departures over the past year. But Baker & Hostetler’s California offices have been relatively quiet lately. The firm added former Brown Rudnick partner Numan Siddiqi in Costa Mesa in June. Meanwhile, the firm’s New York office have seen a number of roster moves in recent months.
In November, the firm hired Adam Gale, a former practice leader at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, to help launch a new investment funds team based out of Manhattan.
That same month, veteran white-collar fraud attorney John Moscow, who spent three decades as a leader in the Manhattan district attorney’s office under Robert Morgenthau, left Baker & Hostetler’s New York office to join international litigation boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss.
And last month, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, the self-proclaimed “fastest-growing law firm” in Big Law, added Deborah Renner, the former New York-based head of Baker & Hostetler’s class action practice.
“Eric is both an exceptional lawyer and a proven leader. We’re thrilled to have him join us as the managing partner of our Los Angeles office,” firm chairman Schmidt said in a release. “BakerHostetler is showing its ongoing commitment to investing in the West Coast by bringing on someone like Eric, who is a well-known figure in the Los Angeles legal community.”
The firm continues to benefit from partner Irving Picard’s work as trustee of funds recovered for victims of Bernie Madoff’s infamous fraud, a representation that has now spanned more than 10 years and $1 billion in legal fees.
A Winston spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sagerman’s departure.