A year after Vedder Price PC opened its first California office in San Francisco, the firm has headed south to put down roots in Los Angeles.
The firm’s new Century City office launched Thursday with the help of Scott E. Adamson, a corporate attorney who joined from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
“Vedder Price has a great reputation in the corporate space, they have a number of strong relationships here in Southern California, and their practice is ideally suited for the middle market,” Adamson said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the firm.”
The Chicago-based firm opened in San Francisco last March with the addition of three laterals, and it has since doubled in size, said firm president and CEO Michael A. Nemeroff. But the next step was to get a Southern California presence to service the firm’s clients in the region. Until now, Vedder has had to refer out some of that work, Nemeroff said.
“We can build on a lot of existing strength and existing connections, contacts and even business by being in the time zone and in the market,” he said.
Vedder’s L.A. office will focus on primarily middle-market corporate, private equity and finance, which is an “extension” of what the firm does well in its other locations, Nemeroff said. It’s also looking to add strength in labor and employment.
Adamson is the “perfect starting point” for the office’s middle-market corporate aim, Nemeroff said. The corporate attorney, who officially joined the firm Thursday, represents public and private financial buyers and sellers, as well as family offices and business owners, in a range of complex transactions. He has handled some of the largest employee stock ownership plan transactions in the country.
“For me personally, it’s a great leadership opportunity,” Adamson said. “I’m excited about the prospect of spearheading the growth here in Southern California and helping a firm like Vedder achieve success in this market.”
Morgan Lewis leaders could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Vedder is already in talks to bring on more attorneys in Los Angeles. Nemeroff said the office hopes to reach a “critical mass point” of about five or six attorneys in the near future.
While a number of Midwestern firms have come to Los Angeles in recent years, most have brought on groups to launch offices, said legal recruiter John Jameson. It’s “highly unusual” for a firm to open an office with a single partner, he said, noting that it can be difficult to snag strong corporate laterals in L.A.’s market.
Jameson added that Vedder’s Northern California location may provide some support to the nascent office in the beginning.
“Finding a solid corporate practice, especially where it has a private equity and mergers and acquisitions focus, is on the radar of practically every firm in town. So being able to get started is a good kudos for the firm,” he said. “But one of the critical pieces is how effective they are in expanding upon that in the next few years.”