Securities Partner Leaves MoFo for Reed Smith

Maya Meinert

Daily Journal

May 12, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Corporate and securities partner Allen Z. Sussman has jumped from Morrison & Foerster to Reed Smith in Los Angeles to help strengthen the firm's capital markets practice.

Sussman, 43, represents public companies in securities, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters, as well as emerging growth companies in their venture-backed transactions through initial public offerings. Many of his clients are in the technology and media industries.

Reed Smith's corporate and securities practice group leader John Iino said the firm is looking to expand its capital markets practice with an eye on global exchanges and offerings. Reed Smith merged with London-based Richards Butler in 2007 to give the firm a U.K., Asia and the Middle East presence.

"As we see the capital markets practice continue to evolve and become more cross-border and multi-jurisdictional, having a core team of highly respected professionals like Allen, especially on the West Coast, will be critical in capturing those opportunities," Iino said.

Sussman said his clients, which include Smith Micro Software Inc., Integrated Healthcare Holdings Inc. and Genius Products, tend to have inbound investments in mainland China. He is currently working on a joint venture between a Chinese company and a U.S. company to develop biofuel technology.

"I tend to view Southern California as the gateway for transactions from Asia," he said. "As they say, California is a Pacific Rim country. Our dollars are headed to Asia, China in particular, and to the Middle East. It's very encouraging [that Reed Smith is] so well known in those locations."

Sussman said he expects to bring his entire book of business with him to Reed Smith. He said that while he respects and admires Morrison & Foerster's attorneys, he found Reed Smith to be more aligned with the trajectory of his practice.

When asked if he was concerned with Morrison & Foerster's perceived emphasis on the East Coast, Sussman denied it had anything to do with his move.

"It is true Keith Wetmore moved to New York to emphasize the New York practice," Sussman said. "But that wasn't a precipitating factor [for me]. That didn't make me move. I just found this opportunity [at Reed Smith] to be a better growth story for my practice going forward."

Gregory B. Koltun, managing partner of Morrison & Foerster's Los Angeles office, declined to comment on Sussman's departure other than to wish him "the best of luck."

"I like him. He's a good guy and a good lawyer," Koltun said.

Sussman graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1988. He spent two years as a staff attorney at the Federal Home Loan Bank in San Francisco before leaving for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., where he spent three years with the SEC's bank task force.

In 1993, he went back to California, joining Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Five years later, he joined the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. He jumped ship in 2001, about two years before Brobeck's closing, to join Morrison & Foerster.

Gary Miles of legal recruiting firm Alan Miles & Associates brokered Sussman's move.

Return to News Index