The famous catch by former UCLA football player Rodney Lee.
The famous catch by former UCLA football player Rodney Lee. ()

When Rodney Lee joined Loeb & Loeb’s trusts and estates practice last month, he teamed up with one of the nation’s top-ranked groups advising high net worth clients on money matters.

He has been a clutch teammate before, as alluded to by the University of California, Los Angeles, football jersey hanging in his new office.

Lee was a walk-on wide receiver who eventually earned a scholarship in his fourth and final season at UCLA. On Nov. 23, 1996, during his junior year, Lee etched his name into the storied rivalry between UCLA and the crosstown University of Southern California Trojans by catching a 23-yard pass with the Bruins down 38-31 with 54 seconds left to play.

The fully-stretched diving catch by Lee on third down helped bring the Bruins to the 11-yard line. The phenomenal grab—which can be seen here at 2:41:35 mark—from star quarterback Cade McNown helped propel UCLA to a 48-41 double overtime victory.

Lee has a photo of the famous catch in his office.

“It is definitely a conversation piece for a lot of the new partners and lawyers who come by and work with me or introduce themselves,” Lee said Thursday. “It also lets me ferret out who the [USC] people are really quickly.”

After his playing days ended at UCLA, Lee graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2001. He went on to practice at Ervin Cohen & Jessup, a Beverly Hills-based firm with more than 50 lawyers.

Lee specializes in litigation that stems from estate planning matters, representing family members or fiduciaries in disputes and trials. He had litigated against lawyers from Loeb & Loeb and set up a meeting with the firm in the hope that it would be willing to send him work that it couldn’t handle due to conflicts. Loeb & Loeb had another idea: Recruiting. Lee made his lateral move—this one of the non-football variety—on July 24.

At Loeb & Loeb, Lee joins a team of more than 50 trusts and estates lawyers, some of whom were hired by the firm earlier this month when it snagged a six-lawyer team from Sidley Austin, including the former leader of the latter’s national trusts and estates practice, Jordan Klein.

Lee (pictured right) said he has been enjoying the transition to one of the largest and well-known practices in the area.

“It’s hard to say that anybody does this better than us,” he said. “It’s been a great honor and privilege to join the team. And like they say, when the Yankees call, you don’t say no.”

UCLA plays USC on Nov. 18.