Paul Hastings has confirmed its launch of a second Los Angeles office in Century City.
In addition to the four high-profile entertainment lawyers that the firm brought aboard earlier this month from Loeb & Loeb, Paul Hastings has also picked up partner Erik Hyman and five more lawyers from the firm to join its newly established entertainment and media practice.
The firm’s entertainment and media practice will be built around the 10-lawyer group, which also includes partners Craig Emanuel, Mickey Mayerson, Stephen Saltzman and Susan Williams. Hyman, the most recent addition, will serve as chair of Paul Hastings’ entertainment and media practice in Century City. (Hyman also happens to be married to “Will & Grace” television show creator Max Mutchnick.)
Other team members moving to Paul Hastings in Los Angeles include former Loeb & Loeb partners Nigel Pearson and Paul Sagan, senior counsel Gregg Ramer and associates Eric Gold and Scott Oranburg.
“This is a significant addition to our firm and gives us the credibility in entertainment and media that we do not previously have,” said Paul Hastings corporate vice chair David Hernand, who joined the firm from Cooley in 2014 and will now chair the firm’s Century City office. “We have several partners and many lawyers around the firm that work on entertainment and media transactions, but we were not viewed as a go-to firm for media and entertainment. With the addition of this group, we will have one of the strongest teams in the industry.”
Mayerson, who worked at Loeb & Loeb’s Los Angeles office for more than 36 years, said that as more opportunities emerge in Hollywood, his team was looking for a bigger platform such as that offered by Paul Hastings.
“Historically, entertainment practices were more focused on the representation of individual artists,” Mayerson said.”Today, we are doing the same work as other traditional lawyers do—big corporate and finance deals—but we are doing them for entertainment industry clients.”
Hernand said that Paul Hastings will recruit more individuals from other offices to create a team of 15 to 20 lawyers in Century City. He expects the number to grow by another 10 or 20 lawyers within the next year.
“Entertainment and media have become an increasingly important part of [the] global economy,” Hernand said. “Hollywood is the center of the global entertainment industry and Century City is the epicenter of the business community in Hollywood. So to be taken seriously in the entertainment industry, we concluded that we needed to be physically located in Century City.”
Furthermore, because of the bad traffic to downtown Los Angeles, having a Century City office also helps firms like Paul Hastings more easily attract local legal talent, Hernand said. Paul Hastings was founded in downtown Los Angeles in 1951. The firm’s name adorns the top of Paul Hastings Tower, a skyscraper that’s part of City National Plaza in Los Angeles, where the firm currently has about 120 lawyers.
Paul Hastings is the second Am Law 100 firm to set up shop in Century City this month. In early March, Baker McKenzie returned to Los Angeles, where the global legal giant had closed up shop in 1993, with a new office in Century City led by five partners from Hogan Lovells.
Other Am Law 100 firms that have moved into Century City in recent years include Latham & Watkins, which raided O’Melveny & Myers in late 2014 for a high-profile media and entertainment team, as well as Sidley Austin, which the following year scooped up Daniel Clivner, a former managing partner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Los Angeles office.
“The reason [for the increased number of law firms in Century City] is the convergence of technological and entertainment companies, companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hulu and Netflix, expanding the scope of what we used to consider entertainment companies,” said prominent entertainment litigator James “Bo” Pearl, who took over in 2014 as the managing partner of O’Melveny & Myers’ Century City office.
O’Melveny & Myers has one of the more established Century City offices in the Am Law 100, having set up shop in the neighborhood back in 1957. Earlier this year, O’Melveny & Myers bolstered its Century City bench by bringing on three M&A partners from Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth. Pearl said the entry of the technology giants into entertainment has created a huge influx of capital in Hollywood and an entire new industry of created content.
“With the expanded avenue for content and the increased number of players operating in that content creation space, I think you are seeing lawyers trying to capitalize on that growth,” Pearl added. “The LA industry moving west, generally. You see it in the traffic patterns. It used to be the traffic was the worst going downtown. Now, the traffic is the worst going to the west.”