LeClairRyan has brought aboard five intellectual property and litigation lawyers to its Los Angeles office, joining a number of firms that have established or expanded practices in the area.
Joining as shareholders are James Potepan and Thomas O’Leary. Joining as partners are Courtney Curtis, James Hildebrand and Brian Vanderhoof. All were previously at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley.
In July, Cooley opened an office with four partners, and, earlier this month, Thompson & Knight launched an L.A. practice. Other firms that have added attorneys in Los Angeles include Pepper Hamilton; Winston & Strawn; and Foley & Mansfield. Last year, Dallas litigation firm McKool Smith debuted an L.A. office.
“It’s generally a function of out-of-state firms having clients here,” said Jill Levin, an attorney recruiter at Los Angeles-based Levin & Associates.
Some of the law firm expansion is due to the development of Silicon Beach, an area of Santa Monica that is sprouting high-tech startups in part because the office rental rates are cheaper than in Silicon Valley to the north. Google Inc., Hulu LLC and Demand Media Inc. have offices in the Santa Monica area.
A convergence of the technology and entertainment industries is driving the growth, according to law firm consultant Peter Zeughauser. As more consumers move away from personal computers to mobile devices, tech companies need content, he said.
“L.A. is to content as Wall Street is to money — the center of the universe,” Zeughauser said.
The attorneys joining LeClairRyan focus on copyright, trademark, trade secrets, rights of publicity, licensing and unfair competition. Clients come from a range of industries that includes consumer products, publishing, entertainment, education and technology, according to the firm.
“With the addition of Jim, Tom and their team of highly experienced attorneys, we are able to provide our clients with even more exceptional intellectual property and litigation capabilities in the Los Angeles marketplace,” LeClairRyan chief executive David Frienberg said in a news release.
Richmond, Va.-based LeClairRyan has about 50 attorneys, patent agents and technical specialists who handle intellectual property matters. The firm, with 21 offices, has about 340 lawyers.
Leigh Jones is a reporter with The National Law Journal, a Recorder affiliate.