Business & Practice

Venable Brings On Nine-Lawyer Team from Kelley Drye in L.A.

March 20, 2019, 8:28 PM

Venable has lured over a nine-attorney team from Kelley Drye & Warren, including the former chair of the firm’s media and entertainment practice group, to work in Venable’s Los Angeles office.

Among the lateral hires are Lee S. Brenner, a partner and the former entertainment chair at Kelley Drye, as well as partners David E. Fink, Michael J. O’Connor, and Sarah L. Cronin. They’ll be joined by five commercial litigation associates.

Brenner, a trial attorney and business litigator with experience in handling high-stakes disputes, stressed the importance of signing on at a firm with a well-developed media practice.

“It was Venable’s sophisticated platform that was so attractive to us. It has both an enormous wealth of talent in the media and entertainment arenas, as well as in business litigation across a wide range of fields,” he said. “Once we met the people at Venable, it became clear that this is a natural fit for us.”

Fink is a business, media, entertainment, and employment litigator, while O’Connor is a commercial litigator and trial lawyer. Cronin’s practice includes entertainment, intellectual property, and insurance recovery.

“We are bringing over a stellar team of top-notch litigators who know the ins and outs of the entertainment and media industry, which perfectly complements our existing capabilities in this sector and makes us even stronger,” Mitch Evall, partner-in-charge of the firm’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement.

Associates moving from Kelley Drye to Venable are Sarah E. Diamond, Cary L. Finkelstein, Ken D. Kronstadt, Michael C. Godino, and Christina Nordsten. They’ll also be joined by a paralegal and three staff members making the move.

The new hires will contribute to Venable’s “vibrant commercial litigation practice,” according to Mitch Evall, partner-in-charge of the Los Angeles office.

“We don’t have any specific plan to grow for the sake of growing, but we are always on the lookout for quality,” Evall said. “Our new colleagues check all the boxes, both professionally and in the kind of people they are, and we are very excited to have them on board.”

Michelle Fivel, a Major, Lindsey & Africa partner who works partially in L.A., said that there’s a noticeable appetite for litigators in the market right now, like the newest Venable hires.

“We’re seeing an increased interest from our clients across the country in litigation practices of all kinds where there is a solid history of business generation,” she said.

Lyndon Parker of JD Search Advisors in L.A. said that Venable has made a “remarkable identity” in the city and is especially highly regarded in the entertainment and litigation arenas.

Kelley Drye first established itself in L.A. in 2011 with the successful acquisition of White O’Connor, a boutique firm specializing in entertainment industry litigation. It had previously kept most of its offices on the east coast.

Kelley Drye managing partner Lewis Rose had kind words for the departing attorneys.

“We wish our former colleagues the best in their future endeavors, and we appreciate their contributions to Kelley Drye and to our clients over the years,” Rose said in an emailed statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com
To contact the editor on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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