Baker Hostetler adds eight lawyers to West Coast corporate team from AmLaw 100 rivals

Former M&A and securities practice leaders among arrivals from Proskauer Rose, Polsinelli and Kirkland & Ellis

JR Lanis (l) and Will Chuchawat Images courtesy of BakerHostetler

BakerHostetler has bolstered its Los Angeles corporate offering with the hire of eight lawyers including five partners from rivals Proskauer Rose, Polsinelli and Kirkland & Ellis, as the Cleveland-based firm continues to build on the West Coast. 

The group includes partners Will Chuchawat, former co-chair of private equity and M&A at Proskauer Rose, and JR Lanis, previously vice-chair of securities and corporate finances at Polsinelli, who have joined the firm alongside their respective teams. Chuchawat will serve as co-head of BakerHostetler’s M&A team. 

Their hires sees the firm build a 30-lawyer corporate group on the West Coast, where it announced its intention to expand in 2019. Since then the firm has opened in San Francisco and added almost 115 lawyers across its offices there and in Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and Seattle. 

“Today marks a major milestone in our corporate growth strategy, as we add significant M&A and securities capabilities in California,” said John Allotta, chair of the Baker Hostetler’s business practice group. “This move is a significant step in extending our middle-market transactions platform westward.”

Chuchawat has joined Baker Hostetler after a little more than two years at Proskauer, prior to which he was M&A team lead at Sheppard Mullin. He focuses on private equity, particularly leveraged buyouts, growth and venture capital transactions, and over the course of his career has worked with clients across diverse industries including Samsung, Aerojet, U.S. Bank and Northrop Grumman. 

Joining alongside him are M&A lawyer Mark Ramzy, who has spent the past 18 months as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Austin but previously worked alongside Chuchawat at Proskauer and Sheppard Mullin as a special counsel, and former Proskauer associates Josh Demple and Seung Kim. Completing his team are an as-yet unidentified partner and counsel, who Baker Hostetler said would join the firm in the next month. 

Meantime, Lanis’ practice focuses on structuring and negotiating public stock and debt offerings, tender offers, rights offerings, IPOs, M&A, licensing deals and other commercial arrangements. He also serves as outside counsel to public companies and registered investment companies and has experience in public company listing and reporting for OTC Markets Group, Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange-listed companies. 

Lanis has joined BakerHostetler after a little more than four years as a shareholder at Polsinelli alongside M&A and private equity partner Bryan Wasser, a certified public accountant who earlier in his career was a financial auditor at Deloitte. 

The group’s arrival in Los Angeles follows Baker Hostetler adding IP litigation partners Ed Poplawski, Olivia Kim and Erik Carlson in the city over the past few months from Wilson Sonsini

A 19-strong IP prosecution group led by Mark Itri and Michael Dreznes also joined the firm in Costa Mesa last spring from Morgan Lewis & Bockius, where Itri had led the global IP team. 

Over the past few years other high-profile hires have included securities and consumer litigators David Aronoff, Bethany Lukitsch and Phil Eskenazi, who moved over from Winston & Strawn, McGuireWoods and Hunton Andrews Kurth respectively.

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