Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, June 1, 2001


Page 5


Client Requests Drove Haight, Brown’s Move From Santa Monica—Officials


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Haight, Brown & Bonesteel’s relocation from Santa Monica to the Howard Hughes Center near the Los Angeles International Airport was driven by client requests, Director of Marketing Christine Boehle said yesterday.

The move, which was accompanied by a new firm website and a new managing partner, took place over Memorial Day weekend.

While increasing office rental space played a part in the decision, the move was made in large part after requests from many of the firm’s national clients that the firm be closer to the airport, new managing partner Peter Ezzell said.

Santa Monica is not the easiest place to get to,” Ezzell said. “Now we’re five minutes from the airport terminal.”

The move also allows the longtime Santa Monica firm to avoid possible rolling power blackouts by Edison this summer in favor of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s more reliable service. The firm also gets more modern offices.

But the move did not go without a hitch. Although the MetNews reported the firm’s plans last week, the firm’s marketing and public relations representatives declined to discuss the move until the official announcement Tuesday, and partners also offered no comment.

Then, on Tuesday, the date slated for the announcement, telephones went unanswered at both the old and new locations.

The telephone company did not provide callers trying the  old number a new referral number and the calls did not ring in the new office Tuesday, Ezell said, leaving callers with no way to reach the lawyers.

“It was hopeless,” Ezzell said of Tuesday’s situation.

The problem has since been corrected.

The firm announced Wednesday that it had named veteran litigator Ezzell to replace Risk Management and Insurance Law Group partner Gary Bague as managing partner.

Citing a desire to concentrate more on his litigation practice and spend more time with his four young children, Bague, a 21-year firm veteran, will return to litigation fulltime in the Risk and Management and Insurance Law Group at the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Bague served as the firm’s managing partner for just under a year.

“The managing partner issue came up as a result of personal matters,” Ezzell said. “I never expected to be put in this slot.”

Ezzell said he welcomed the change of duty.

“After 29 years of doing trial work, I wanted to try some more administrative work with the firm,” Ezzell said. “I do trials all over the country. It takes me away from Santa Monica a lot.”

Ezzell will be responsible for implementing the firm’s new business plan, which places emphasis on several practices areas, streamlining firm management, and reorganization into service- or industry-based practice groups.

The plan, developed with several leading industry consultants, provides for an expansion of the firm’s general commercial counseling and litigation, as well as institutional litigation. The firm will also expand it’s high-level insurance and re-insurance practice.

Haight Brown also has offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Ana, and Riverside, with 114 attorneys firmwide.