- Willkie poached three rainmaker partners from Venable last week to open an office in Los Angeles.
- Since then, 17 attorneys have left Venable’s LA office, with some revealing they’ve joined Willkie.
- The lawyers have represented celebrities like Will Ferrell.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher have just opened a new office in Los Angeles and Venable is hiring a number of new employees.
Willkie has hired at least 10 former Venable attorneys who have worked for clients including Will Ferrell, Marlon Wayans and one of the organizations behind the Emmys. The company hired three rainmaker partners last week.
Partners Eric Bakewell, Andrew Copans, Logan Elliott, and Shane Nix have updated various online profiles to indicate that they have joined Willkie. So six employees: Zainab Ali, Rachel Bressi, Matthew Busch, Steven Goodrich, Sean Hanle and Carly Trainor.
Some attorneys who recently left Venable are still missing, including Paul Bernstein, a business attorney who was vice chairman of Venable’s entertainment practice, and Thomas Baxter, who worked on deals for actor Ryan Reynolds and former MGM CEO Gary Barber worked.
In total, Venable listed 98 people in its Los Angeles office last week. Now she lists 81.
Last week litigation attorney Alex Weingarten, corporate partner Alan Epstein, and Michele Mulrooney, a director of Venable’s trust and estate practice who helped celebrities and athletes create wealth management and tax plans, left Venable for Willkie. Insiders told sources that they generated at least $ 20 million in sales annually.
Weingarten and some of his associates have represented big names in litigation, including Selena Gomez and comedian Will Ferrell. Epstein has worked with Hollywood dealmakers.
Bakewell, another attorney in the courtroom, has appeared in court on behalf of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which successfully sued to stop the sale of four old Emmys, and actor Marlon Wayans, whom he and others represented at Venable .
Copans has appeared on multiple estate litigation in Los Angeles over the years and has represented wealthy clients in IRS audits and tax court proceedings, according to a biography. And Nix listed several tax planning engagements for clients on his LinkedIn, including a film production company and an unnamed rock band.
Representatives from Willkie and Venable did not immediately respond to questions about the moves.