Commercial litigation and intellectual property work is flowing back to Los Angeles as the recession ebbs, according to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton’s chairman, Guy Halgren.
Although other California cities claim a far larger share of the California IP market than does Los Angeles, “there’s quite a resurgence” of patent filing, licensing and patent litigation for the area’s companies, including manufacturing and retail, he said.
Litigation, as in other parts of the United States, “was not countercyclical during this recession,” but it’s on the upswing now, Halgren said.
Corporate work is also “on a general positive trend,” even though it didn’t decline as sharply as in other cities during the downturn, he said. “The midmarket corporate practice in L.A. is relatively consistent and less prone to large ups and downs like you’d see in New York.”
Real estate, too, “stayed surprising strong through the recession and is showing new signs of life,” he said.
Labor and employment, a key Los Angeles practice for many firms, remained strong during the recession and is still humming along, Halgren said.
“There are more incentives in California for employment litigation than any other state in the country,” Halgren said.
Because California is a mature legal market, “there are seldom outstanding new opportunities” for quick expansion there, Halgren added. “What you’re looking for more is an upswing in business based on the general economy.”