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DLA Piper offices in Washington, D.C. December 1, 2016.

DLA Piper announced Wednesday that it has acquired Liner LLP, a Los Angeles-based boutique firm focused on clients in real estate, entertainment, new media and private equity restructuring. The deal will give DLA Piper 60 additional lawyers in Southern California.

Liner is a relatively young firm, founded in 1996, with an entrepreneurial business model that at one point included about 15 percent of the firm’s work being handled on an alternative or contingency fee basis. It is well-known for its entertainment industry practice, which has represented clients including Miramax Film Corp., Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and Hilton Grand Vacations Co.

Partner Angela Agrusa also successfully defended Bill Cosby in a defamation case brought by Renita Hill, who alleged she was defamed by Cosby as he fought her public accusation that he assaulted her decades earlier.

The deal boosts DLA’s Piper’s presence in Los Angeles, where it says it will now be one of the city’s 15 largest law firms. The firm has offices in both downtown L.A. and Century City.

“This combination is an important evolution of our presence in Southern California and the West Coast generally, building on our roots here in San Diego and Silicon Valley as Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich prior to the merger that formed DLA Piper,” Jay Rains, DLA Piper’s global co-CEO and co-chairman for the Americas, said in a statement.

Liner made legal market headlines in 2015 when it lured Kirk Pasich and nine other lawyers from Dickstein Shapiro. Pasich was head of the insurance practice group at the now-defunct Dickstein Shapiro and was also previously a member of that firm’s executive committee.

More recently, the firm last September picked up three lawyers from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. Previously, the firm was named Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor, though name partner Joshua Grode moved to Irell & Manella along with five other Liner lawyers in 2014.

“We are excited about the opportunity to help build, under the DLA Piper umbrella, an even stronger presence in Southern California, Silicon Beach and beyond,” Liner’s managing partner, Stuart Liner, said in a statement. “This merger will give us the ability to provide our clients with the services offered by DLA Piper in New York and other important national markets, and to capitalize on their strengths and depth of practice in areas like M&A, private equity, finance, infrastructure and sports.” 

Roy Strom, based in Chicago, covers the business of law with a focus on how law firm business models are changing. He can be reached at rstrom@alm.com. On Twitter: @RoyWStrom


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