Paul Hastings LLP says the growing effects of entertainment on the global economy contributed to the firm’s decision to hire five entertainment partners from Loeb & Loeb LLP to open an entertainment and media practice in Century City, Calif.
The hiring of Mickey Mayerson, Susan Williams, Craig Emanuel, Stephen Saltzman, and Erik Hyman marks a first dramatic step by Paul Hastings to capture a greater share of the market when it comes to legal work in the entertainment industry. The move was announced by the firm today, but previously reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
The five-person team will launch Paul Hastings’ 22nd office. It will be led by David Hernand, vice chair of the firm’s corporate practice. The firm had been looking to expand further into the media industry for “several years,” according to Hernand.
“We were not regarded in the industry as a go-to firm for entertainment and media, and it’s hard to change perceptions overnight,” Hernand told Bloomberg Law.
He added that the firm spoke with several lateral prospects over the last few years before making a deal with the team from Loeb & Loeb.
Hernand said media in general is more and more relevant as it becomes “an increasingly important part of the global economy,” and Hollywood is at the center of that.
The firm knew it needed a significant presence in the sector in Los Angeles in order to be taken seriously around the world, according to Hernand.
Convergence of Technologies
Specifically, he cited the “convergence” of telecommunications, technology, media, and entertainment over the last 10 years as part of the reason this sector has taken on more significance.
“So, all of a sudden, significant tech companies like Apple and Facebook and Snapchat spend a big part of their time focused on entertainment,” Hernand said.
He also noted that the rise of Netflix and similar streaming companies played a role.
The five-person hiring is a “very significant acquisition” because the partners are “preeminent attorneys” in the sector, Hernand. But they won’t be alone in Century City. The office will start with between 15 and 20 attorneys, including some from the firm’s Los Angeles office.
“The plan is to grow that to 30 to 40 lawyers in one year,” he told Bloomberg Law. “To me it doesn’t sound that ambitious; it seems obvious.”
Loeb & Loeb wished the departing lawyers well in a statement and stressed the firm’s commitment to its entertainment practice, which it said “will continue to be a core area of focus for us.”
–This story has been updated to include comment from Loeb & Loeb.
To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Casey Sullivan at cSullivan@bloomberglaw.com