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Latham & Watkins hired a team of attorneys from O’Melveny & Myers in 2014 to build its entertainment practice from the ground up, and it built out the 11th and 12th floors of Constellation Place in Century City to give its new team a proper home.
The firm on Thursday night hosted a housewarming party of sorts, complete with catering from Bouchon and handcrafted cocktails.
Before the event, partner Joseph Calabrese told The Hollywood Reporter the practice has already grown considerably.
“We started out with five partners, making the slow walk across the street from our old firm,” he says. “Now we’re up to, I think, 32 lawyers in our office.”
The new office features a large open common area surrounded by black-and-white murals of Hollywood icons including James Bond and The Usual Suspects. After working for more than a year in a temporary space, the new office feels more permanent, more like home, Calabrese says.
“This space is very much designed to create an environment and a place where we can really create community,” he says. “That is something that’s very exciting. It’s a place that’s built to encourage the kind of creativity that a lot of startup and tech companies have.”
Calabrese says the practice itself also has grown and deepened, especially with sports clients. The Latham team has taken on transactional and media work for the clients including the NCAA, which recently extended its March Madness tournament, and Tencent, which partnered with the NBA to ink the league’s largest-ever digital deal.
In 2015, Latham & Watkins was the largest law firm in the world by revenue, according to Calabrese, who attributes that in part to the vast client base and geography the firm covers. (Representing Legendary Entertainment in its $3.5 billion acquisition by Dalian Wanda Group in January certainly could help the firm repeat the feat in 2016.)
“Latham has been relatively unique with combining a large law firm with a high-quality law firm,” says Calabrese.
Keeping that quality while entering a new industry was important to the firm, he says.
“They didn’t want just any entertainment practice in L.A.,” says Calabrese. “They wanted a leading entertainment practice in L.A.”
Business in the new Century City office is about 85 percent entertainment transactions and litigation, in addition to some non-entertainment work for private equity clients and emerging companies.
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