Ballard Spahr offices in Washington, D.C. March 24, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.
Ballard Spahr offices in Washington, D.C. March 24, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL. (Diego M. Radzinschi)

Ballard Spahr has closed its office in San Diego, the firm confirmed Tuesday, after losing two partners to Dinsmore & Shohl, and transferring other lawyers to its Los Angeles office.

Bankruptcy partners Christopher Celentino and Mikel Bistrow joined Dinsmore & Shohl effective July 1, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday. Judge Peter Bowie has also joined Dinsmore as of counsel.

Intellectual property partner James Sze stayed with Ballard Spahr and relocated to the Los Angeles office, the firm said, as did two associates.

Ballard Spahr’s San Diego office had just seven lawyers, not including another partner who worked from both San Diego and Los Angeles.

The firm opened in San Diego in 2010, when it acquired litigation boutique La Bella & McNamara. Thomas McNamara, who was the first managing partner of the office, left in 2015 to start his own firm with four other lawyers from Ballard Spahr.

Bistrow and Celentino joined Ballard Spahr in 2014, coming from Foley & Lardner. Their practice focused on insolvency and finance matters, including debtor and creditor work at various stages.

Bowie joined Ballard Spahr after 27 years as a chief judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. Before his time on the court, he spent 14 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

Ballard Spahr’s San Diego office was largely built around the bankruptcy practice, the firm said, so the firm chose to close it and transfer the remaining lawyers when Bistrow and Celentino left.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, is a growth market for the firm, a spokeswoman said. Its most recent hire there was of counsel Brenda Ching, who works on employee benefits and executive compensation.

Dinsmore opened its San Diego office, its first on the West Coast, in 2015, when it acquired local litigation firm Leventhal Law. Since adding that four-lawyer group, the office has grown to 10 lawyers, according to Dinsmore’s website, not including Celentino, Bistrow and Bowie.