Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, January 8, 2007


Page 3


Karol Denniston Takes Charge of West Coast Restructuring Practice at DLA Piper


By TINA BAY, Staff Writer


A leading international business lawyer has left Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker to take over the West Coast restructuring practice of DLA Piper.

Karol Denniston started work with the international megafirm last week and is based in its Century City office.

“This firm has just got tremendous platform and depth and breadth in intellectual property, along with restructuring,” Denniston, 47, told the MetNews.

Moving to the West Coast after practicing with Paul Hastings in Atlanta and London, she said, has created important opportunities for her to become involved in the emerging company practice.

“The West Coast firm has got a lot of depth in working with intellectual property and companies whose primary asset is intellectual property, and this is an opportunity to work with that in terms of structuring and restructuring,” she said. “That is really exciting and new because we’re just now beginning to see financing on what we call intangible assets.”

The lawyer’s experience in corporate restructuring includes working on bankruptcy cases, litigation, commercial transactions and corporate insolvency, from both the debtor and creditor perspective. She has also counseled clients relating to acquisition and risk management matters, and provided structural analysis and advice pertaining to international financial transactions.

Her recent work has included representing the equity holders committee in the Chapter 11 proceedings of Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., operator of a once-thriving Florida-based supermarket chain.

‘Wealth of Experience’

John T. Cusack, who leads DLA Piper’s finance practice group—of which the restructuring practice is a part—in the United States, said the firm was attracted to Denniston’s “wealth of knowledge and experience” in Chapter 11 cases.

“With the increasing demand for multi-jurisdictional counsel, Karol’s background in international law will be of great value to our clients,” he said in a statement.

Denniston’s clients include major financial institutions, cable and satellite companies, franchisors and private equity investors.

The lawyer began her career in Texas prosecuting bank fraud cases for the FDIC and managing loan workouts during the savings and loan crisis. She was a licensed solicitor in London for several years.

The vice chair of the Committee on Dispute Resolution for the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section, Denniston has been written and spoken on insolvency and commercial dispute resolution topics. She has taught law as an adjunct professor at Whittier Law School, and is currently working on her book, the second edition of Distressed Debt Trading.

Admitted to the State Bar of California in 1989, she has served as a court-appointed mediator for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California and the Los Angeles Superior Court.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Concord University and a master’s degree from West Virginia University, where she earned her law degree as well.

Intellectual Property Partner

Also joining DLA Piper last week was J.D. Harriman, now a member of the firm’s intellectual property practice group and a partner in its Century City office. Harriman, 49, was previously a partner at Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiener, and formerly led the locally-based intellectual property department of Coudert Brothers.

Focusing his practice on patent prosecution, he is experienced in a variety of areas including software and Internet patents and telecommunications and computer architecture. He also provides strategic advice to holders of large patent portfolios, and advises universities on creating and maintaining technology assets.

Harriman, who has lectured on intellectual property issues internationally, graduated from USC School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar in 1984. He earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University.

Michael Meyer, managing partner of DLA Piper’s local office, remarked that Harriman’s addition would help the firm to continue building its corporate practice in Los Angeles, particularly its representation of venture-backed companies.


Foley & Lardner has also taken steps to expand its local presence, managing partner Jack Lasater said, by adding seasoned real estate attorney Craig P. Wood to its Business Law Department last week.

Wood, 53, joined Foley & Lardner’s real estate practice from the Century City firm of Greenberg Glusker, after previously practicing law in San Francisco for over 20 years. He specializes in managing complex tenant-in-common offerings, and also works with large institutional clients on developing private equity funding for real estate investment.

Stephen Burr, who leads the firm’s tenant-in-common practice said Wood’s addition strengthens its ability to provide counsel to tenant-in-common sponsors in the “critical region” of Southern California as well as nationally.

“He also brings significant expertise in real estate capital markets transactions generally, which has become increasingly important as the [tenant-in-common] industry expands its search for equity into larger, more institutional channels,” Burr added.

Wood was admitted to the State Bar in 1980, after earning his law degree from Hastings College of the Law. He also holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University, and undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.


Jones Day’s Los Angeles office last week elevated to partner status from within its ranks Todd R. Miller, Kirstin Poirier-Whitley, Jeff M. Rawitz and Esme Smith. Additionally, the firm has recently added former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Hoffstadt and Brian Hershman to its appellate and trial practice groups, respectively. 

Rick L. McKnight, partner-in-charge of the office, said the six recently named partners reflect the firm’s efforts to strengthen and expand its practice locally.

“We’ve been in Los Angeles for over three decades but we really are on a really rapid growth curve now,” he remarked, adding that the addition of Hershman and Hoffstadt adds “substantial depth” to the firm’s “already very strong” trial and litigation practice.

Hershman, 39, has joined the firm as a partner in its trial practice group, and specializes in corporate criminal investigations and civil litigation. He moved to Jones Day after a seven-year trial and litigation career in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, where he most recently served as deputy chief of the public corruption and civil rights section.

His experience includes working as the lead prosecutor in the BALCO grand jury leak investigation and a case involving the attempted overthrow of the Cambodian government. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Yale Law School, and was admitted to the State Bar in 1993.

Hoffstadt, 36, has joined Jones Day as a partner in its appellate practice, and was previously worked in the cyber and intellectual property crimes section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Prior to serving as an assistant U.S. attorney, he was senior counsel in the Office of Policy Development for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and also served as special counsel for the Federal Communications Commission.

He has clerked for then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall. Since 2005 he has taught criminal procedure as an adjunct professor at USC Law, and has also taught at The George Washington University School of Law and at Loyola School of Law.

Admitted to the State Bar in 1996, he holds a law degree from UCLA and an undergraduate degree from Cal Poly Pomona.

Miller, 39, has both trial and transactional experience in intellectual property matters and is now a partner in Jones Day’s intellectual property group.

Rawitz, 43, has become a partner in the firm’s corporate criminal investigation practice, and Poirier-Whitley, 38, has transitioned from of counsel to partner in its employee benefits practice.

The 35-year-old Smith, while named a partner in the firm’s local transactional practice, is set to relocate to its Menlo Park office.


Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company