Peter Mastan

The legal market in Los Angeles, having rebounded a decade on from the Great Recession, just got a bit more crowded and competitive.

Dinsmore & Shohl, a roughly 550-lawyer Am Law 200 firm based in Cincinnati, quietly opened an office in the city earlier this month after hiring Peter Mastan, a former managing partner of local bankruptcy firm Gumport Mastan.

The opening comes three years after Dinsmore absorbed San Diego-based Leventhal Law. The latter’s namesake, Joseph Leventhal, currently serves as managing partner of Dinsmore & Shohl’s 17-lawyer San Diego office. He said that his firm’s decision to expand into Los Angeles is part of a “strategic plan” to grow in California.

Joe Leventhal

“In Los Angeles, we have been looking for a couple of years to start that office, and what we think it is critical to the beginning of any new office is finding the right leader,” said Leventhal, who recently joined Dinsmore’s board of directors. “When we got introduced to Peter, we found we had the right leader to start that office.”

Mastan spent 23 years at Gumport Mastan, where he worked closely with fellow name partner Leonard Gumport in representing clients throughout California in matters involving bankruptcy proceedings, commercial and business litigation, public corruption cases and receiverships. Following his departure from Gumport Mastan, Mastan said the two-lawyer boutique will dissolve on Nov. 1, with Gumport opening his own legal practice in Pasadena, California.

Before establishing Gumport Mastan in 1997, Mastan worked at Los Angeles-based Beardsley, Hufstedler & Kemble. He has more than 35 years of experience as a litigator in business, bankruptcy and receivership matters.

“After 23 years at my prior firm … it took a very special opportunity to lure me away from the small firm practice that I enjoyed, but the opportunity to open, lead and expand the [Los Angeles] office of Dinsmore was just one I really couldn’t pass on,” Mastan said.

Mastan added that he was drawn to Dinsmore due to its full-service capability. The firm’s Los Angeles office will offer clients Mastan’s bankruptcy, commercial and business litigation and receivership expertise. Mastan is currently the only full-time lawyer based in the office.

“One of the things I really found unique about Dinsmore is that, being a Midwest firm, it brings certain values that I find very refreshing,” said Mastan about his new home. “I think whoever we bring in has to have not only the legal talent but be someone who is willing to be a team player to work with everyone.”

Dinsmore, which has done a series of mergers in recent years, currently has 26 offices across the country. The firm recently hired 21 associates for eight of those offices and announced the launch of a new dispute resolution practice earlier this month. Dinsmore raided Venable last year for a five-lawyer intellectual property team in San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Aubrey Haddach, a former Venable lawyer part of that move, is now of counsel at Dinsmore in San Diego. Dinsmore added fellow of counsel Marjorie Terner and Nicholas Echevestre this year for its litigation group in the city. Adriana Cara, a litigation partner who joined Dinsmore’s San Diego office in 2016, left the firm in April for FisherBroyles.