3:54pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Global Firm DLA Piper Expands Hollywood Reach With Liner Merger
Hollywood boutique Liner LLP is going global — as it is merging with international mega-firm DLA Piper.
The Southern California outfit was launched by Stuart Liner in 1996, with a focus on litigation, real estate, insurance recovery and business transactions. Now, two decades later, it will become part of a firm that's present in 40 countries across the globe.
“DLA has bought into and agrees with our vision of how to handle entertainment litigation and the transactional business and are very supportive,” Liner tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he expects life post-merger to feel like business as usual. “They’ve agreed to give us an enormous amount of autonomy at the local level. I don’t think people will see very much in the way of changes.”
Liner's entertainment litigation team is at the center of some of Hollywood's biggest disputes. Partner and newly minted mediator Larry Stein is a staple on THR's Power Lawyers list, and Ashley Yeargan was featured on the 2016 Next Gen list. Their team recently counted a big win for client Blake Shelton in a defamation lawsuit against In Touch Weekly, which eventually ended in settlement. Meanwhile, Liner litigator Angela Agrusa has been making headlines as one of the leads on Bill Cosby's legal team.
The merger will extend the firm's reach and create opportunities for both M&A and big-ticket litigation practices, which Liner says will attract top lateral talent to its already impressive roster of attorneys.
“[Liner lawyers] are fiercely entrepreneurial and committed to providing legal services in innovative and transformative ways, as evidenced by their ability to recruit top-notch talent, including many preeminent practitioners from the Am Law 100," Roger Meltzer, DLA Piper’s global co-chairman, said Thursday in an announcement. "They are a perfect fit with DLA Piper and they will be an important strategic linchpin for us in the region and across our platform as we help them extend their practices nationally and globally.”
DLA Piper's already strong media and sports practice will be bolstered by Liner's boots-on-the-ground entertainment experience, as the firm continues to expand its finance, rights acquisition, intellectual property and live-events practice.
Approximately 60 Liner attorneys will be making the move to DLA. The merger date is set for Oct. 1, but the physical transition likely won't happen until November. Those based in the firm's Westwood office will transition to Century City, and the downtown Los Angeles attorneys will move to a new space in DTLA.