Venable has landed a team of four partners and five associates from Kelley Drye & Warren in Los Angeles, including the chair of its media and entertainment practice and managing partner of the Los Angeles office.
Joining Venable’s Los Angeles office are Lee Brenner, who most recently served as chair of Kelley Drye’s media and entertainment practice group, and David Fink, who was managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office, as well as partners Michael O’Connor and Sarah Cronin. They are now part of Venable’s commercial litigation practice group, along with five associates.
According to Kelley Drye’s website, the firm now has five attorneys in its Los Angeles office.
“As big as Los Angeles is, everyone in the media and entertainment industry [still] knows each other,” Brenner said, noting that he has long known Venable lawyers in the market and was attracted to firm’s expertise in the entertainment and media space.
“You really got to stay at the [top] of the game in this industry,” he added. “Clients are going to expect you to be experts on what they need when they need it.”
All four partners were part of White O’Connor Fink & Brenner, a 15-lawyer Los Angeles boutique that Kelley Drye acquired in 2011. Brenner, who has been practicing in the Los Angeles market for over two decades, said his group has been looking for a bigger platform that is able to address the more specific needs of their entertainment and media clients.
“Clients really expect even more than they ever have before. They want you to have an expertise,” Brenner said. “What is wonderful about Venable is I can pick up the phone and have an expert on [a number of practice areas].”
Brenner’s practice includes defamation and copyright law, as well as idea theft, trade secret and trademark matters. He took over the leadership of Kelley Drye’s media and entertainment practice from Fink in April 2015. Fink practices as a business, media, entertainment and employment litigator.
O’Connor, who formerly chaired Kelley Drye’s insurance recovery group, has practiced as a commercial litigator and trial lawyer for four decades, while Cronin’s practice includes entertainment, intellectual property and insurance recovery.
“We are bringing over a stellar team of top-notch litigators who know the ins and outs of the entertainment and media industry, which perfectly complements our existing capabilities in this sector and makes us even stronger,” Mitch Evall, partner-in-charge of Venable’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement.
The associates joining Venable are Sarah Diamond, Cary Finkelstein, Ken Kronstadt, Michael Godino, and Christina Nordsten. One paralegal and three other staff members are also making the move.
With the addition of the Kelley Drye group, Venable’s Los Angeles office, which opened in 2006, has 93 attorneys.
That office also recently picked up former DLA Piper partner Ellyn Garofalo. She had previously practiced at Los Angeles-based boutique Liner LLP, which DLA Piper acquired in 2017.
In a statement addressing the group’s departure, Lewis Rose, managing partner of Kelley Drye, said: “We wish our former colleagues the best in their future endeavors, and we appreciate their contributions to Kelley Drye and to our clients over the years.”
The firm will announce a new Los Angeles office managing partner and a new media and entertainment practice head in the upcoming weeks, the firm said.