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January 6, 2009 6:25 PM

Changing Stripes: Hollywood's Dreier Stein Ponders Future

Posted by Brian Baxter

Sibling publication The National Law Journal reports that about 20 lawyers from Santa Monica's Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods George are shedding their affiliation with Marc Dreier--good idea!--to branch out on their own. Dreier Stein was formed in 2007 through a merger between 17-lawyer litigation boutique Browne Woods George and Dreier Stein & Kahan, a 54-lawyer, Beverly Hills-based entertainment litigation and corporation transactional West Coast affiliate of the now-defunct Dreier firm.

The merged firm included several of Hollywood's most sought-after lawyers, including Stanton "Larry" Stein, a well-known entertainment litigator whose client list includes independent film studio LionsGate and actors Jennifer Love Hewitt and David Duchovny, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Stein presides over a group of roughly 20 litigators who handle high-profile entertainment industry work. Partner Mark Passin is leading a team trying a case against Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges over the efforts of the estate of silent film star Mary Pickford to sell her 1929 Best Actress Oscar for her role in Coquette. (Quinn Emanuel is representing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which opposes the sale.)

But Dreier Stein partners now seem poised to go their separate ways, with a 20-lawyer group breaking away to reconstitute the Browne Woods George boutique, and others, led by Stein, looking for opportunities to merge with a larger firm.

The NLJ reports that Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, Troutman Sanders, and Los Angeles firm Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif are all possible merger candidates for the rump of Dreier Stein.

"I'm blown away by the number of international, national, and local firms who have sought us out," Stein told The NLJ. The firms in question either declined to comment or did not respond to interview requests.

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