Smaller-Is-Better Firm Finds Bigger Is Better – and Merges

Emma Dewald

Daily Journal

December 26, 2006

LOS ANGELES- It’s not easy being a small-firm lawyer with a big-time client base.

Daniel Offner and David Anderson, the two partners of the four-lawyer Offner & Anderson, learned that this year. The Los Angeles firm, which counts among its clients the independent video game publishers Ubisoft and THQ, had such a good year that they started looking for a larger law firm to join.

“We grew extremely quickly,” Offner said.

That growth, he said, resulted in “lots of late hours” for both partners.

“We were having trouble servicing our clients without the resources of a larger firm,” Offner said.

They found that larger firm in 650-lawyer, 16-office Nixon Peabody. They engaged Alan Miles of the Los Angeles-based legal search firm Alan Miles & Associates who brokered the deal.

“The one that really emerged very quickly once we met them…was Nixon,” Offner said.

Part of the appeal, Offner and Anderson said, was the availability of practice groups, such as labor and employment and tax, that their clients often need.

And, Offner said, there weren’t issues about rate structures.

“They gave us some flexibility, they gave us some support and frankly our rates weren’t all that different from Nixon’s to begin with,” he said.

Offner and Anderson liked the way Nixon Peabody ran the recruiting process. And they liked the people.

“I think everyone we met at Nixon we came away really positively impressed by,” Offner said.

Nixon Peabody felt the same way.

“It was love at first sight, and here we are,” Rick Jones, who helped open Nixon Peabody’s Los Angeles office in February 2005.

“They are in the sweet spot of an area that we’re seeking to grow,” said Jones, referring to the partners’ niche in interactive media and their ability to act as general counsel to middle-market companies.

Offner opened the firm in 1995. He had been working at the Northampton, Mass., firm of Fierst & Neiman. But he had one client in Los Angeles who eventually got frustrated by the time change and asked him to relocate. Offner said he thought the move would be “a good adventure.”

Los Angeles firm Lowy & Zucker hired Anderson, fresh out of law school, to do that work. Fortunately, Offner’s own practice grew enough that he also found himself in need of Anderson’s services. Anderson became a partner in the firm in 2000.

Offner & Anderson’s two associates also joined Nixon Peabody, as did the two staff members.

This addition brings the Los Angeles office of Nixon Peabody to 20 lawyers. Former Sidley Austin partner Thaddeus Stauber recently joined as a litigator.

The newest addition “is a sign of Nixon Peabody’s commitment to this market,” Jones Said.

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