Days after adding to its Los Angeles office, DLA Piper has announced the addition of a pair of entertainment litigators in the city, as well as several other new partner hires in Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C., the latest in a series of lateral moves by the firm in 2018.
DLA Piper has brought on Miles Cooley and Michael Garfinkel as partners for its sports, media and entertainment practice in Los Angeles as a part of the global legal giant’s continued expansion efforts in the City of Angels. The two hires come less than a week after DLA Piper announced its addition of Joel Athey, a former managing partner of Holland & Knight’s Los Angeles office, which he joined in 2014 after leaving his own boutique.
Garfinkel most recently served as the firmwide chair of the media and entertainment litigation practice at Perkins Coie, while Cooley is making the jump from Kelley Drye & Warren, which he joined in 2016 from Reed Smith.
While DLA Piper has had a presence in Los Angeles since 1986, its local operations grew drastically last year when the firm bolted on Liner, a 60-lawyer Los Angeles-based boutique known for its representation of entertainment industry client. Liner’s co-founder and former managing partner, Stuart Liner, now serves as the co-managing partner of DLA Piper’s offices in downtown Los Angeles and nearby Century City.
“For me, it boiled down to [this] is really great opportunity to join DLA at a time when [Liner] and his group were bringing incredible Los Angles market knowledge and a really sort of deep understanding and contacts to this market,” said Cooley, who represents entertainment and sports industry stars, including R&B star Rihanna and rapper 50 Cent. “It’s a terrific opportunity for [my clients to] really leverage the verticals that DLA has everywhere, and to do a really good job servicing entertainment clients here in L.A.”
For Garfinkel, the move to DLA Piper is a chance to work with Liner and reunite with his former Venable colleague Douglas Emhoff, an entertainment and intellectual property litigator who joined the firm in October. Garfinkel served as chair of Venable’s California commercial litigation group from 2007 to 2011.
“To see what they’re doing here at DLA Piper and the fact that [the firm] is all-in on L.A. was a really exciting opportunity, especially in my practice area,” said Garfinkel, who began his legal career in 1991 at a predecessor to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
For nearly 25 years, Garfinkel has represented motion picture studios, television networks and production companies in a variety of matters. He also represents talent agencies, such as International Creative Management Partners and Ari Emanuel’s William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC, as well as media conglomerates like NBCUniversal Media LLC.
With its troupe of lateral additions, DLA Piper’s Los Angeles office has brought themselves to nearly 100 lawyers in the city, Liner said. All of which is a part of a strategic effort by the firm to build a base upon the areas that it believes are drivers in Southern California—entertainment, health care, private equity, real estate and venture capital, among others.
“DLA’s vision, in conjunction with ours, is to be very local-minded but take into consideration the very real aspect of globalization that’s taking place in the world and with clients,” said Liner, noting that Cooley and Garfinkel won’t be the last recruits to DLA Piper in Los Angeles. “We have a mandate to continue to grow this office dramatically and anticipate certainly being one of the 10 largest firms in terms of bodies in Los Angeles.”
DLA Piper did see three other entertainment and media litigation partners leave its Los Angeles office this week in Stanton “Larry” Klein, Bennett Bigman and Ashley Yeargan, all of whom have joined local firm Russ August & Kabat, as noted by sibling publication Law.com. The trio of defectors, who are taking with them senior associate Diana Sanders, all previously worked at Liner.
Nonetheless, DLA Piper has been busy expanding elsewhere.
The 3,616-lawyer firm touted Monday its hire of Buckley Sandler partner Margo Tank for its IP and technology practice in Washington, D.C. That same day, DLA Piper confirmed its addition of Thompson & Knight partner Steven Bartz in Dallas, where DLA Piper is also reportedly poised to bring on Andrews Kurth Kenyon labor and employment partner Marc Katz. DLA Piper announced on Jan. 22 its hire of Schiff Hardin litigation partners Amy Rubenstein and John Scholnick in Chicago.
In Australia, DLA Piper has welcomed aboard King & Wood Mallesons special counsel Natalie Caton as a litigation and regulatory partner in Brisbane. And earlier this month, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom counsel John Beahn joined DLA Piper’s telecommunications practice as a partner in Washington, D.C., while former Al-Jazeera general counsel Tariq Al-Abdulla joined DLA Piper as a senior consultant in Doha, Qatar. DLA Piper also added a pair of Jones Day partners to bolster its office in Tokyo.