2019 Vault Rankings
“Good, substantive work early”
“The work ebbs and flows”
“The lack of mentorship/guidance”
“The billable hour”
With expertise in a variety of practices, including corporate, litigation, employment, IP, antitrust, and finance, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has grown aggressively in recent times. The firm has added a number of industry-focused practices, such as healthcare, insurance, communications and entertainment, serving such clients as DaVita Inc., Liberty Mutual, Charter Communications, and Disney.
Today’s Sheppard Mullin entered the world in 1927 as Haight & Mathes, the brainchild of two young lawyers who left a small Los Angeles firm to strike out on their own. At the behest of Harvard Law classmate Bill Mathes, James Sheppard ditched O’Melveny & Myers to join the nascent firm the following year. After co-founder Ray Haight left to form yet another startup in 1932 (before an unsuccessful bid for the California governor’s chair), two men who would develop into name partners—J. Stanley Mullin and George Richter—cut their teeth as law clerks in the Great Depression’s waning days. Richter briefly left the firm for Security First National Bank’s legal department in the mid-1930s, a stint that afforded him a knowledge reserve he’d tap to build up the firm’s commercial and banking offerings upon his return. With the 1938 hiring of Harvard grad Gordon Hampton, the firm closed out its recruitment of the quartet that formed the nameplate maintained through today—a rarity in this age of mergers, spinoffs, and partner raids.
Mathes answered President Truman’s call in 1945, when he accepted Give ‘Em Hell Harry’s nomination to join the federal bench in L.A. While the partner’s ascendance clearly lent additional prestige to the Sheppard Mullin letterhead, it also cost the firm its senior trial lawyer; another OMM lawyer, Frank Balthis, stepped in to help fill the void, earning his own judiciary invitation in 1961 after 15 years with the firm. Meanwhile, a third Sheppard Mullin attorney-turned-jurist, Kathleen Parker, made headlines in becoming one of L.A.’s first female attorneys and, later, one of the region’s first female judges. Parker joined the firm in 1946 and was the first woman to practice at the firm.
Go for Golden
Given the history of prestigious attorneys who have graced Sheppard Mullin’s halls, the firm’s continued success and growth is no surprise. The firm opened offices throughout the Golden State in the 1970s and 1980s; added niche practices in such areas as aerospace, defense, land use, and real estate in the 1990s; and launched a slew of new branches as the third millennium dawned. In addition to its major California presence, the firm also has offices in DC, New York, Chicago, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, London, and Brussels. Recent growth has reflected an increased emphasis on regional specialization: lawyers in Century City focus largely on entertainment and healthcare law, those in Del Mar target the region’s tech companies, and attorneys in DC pass much of their time helping clients land government contracts.
IN THE NEWS
The firm announced that MaryJeanette Dee was named co-managing partner of the firm. She joined existing manager partner, Robert Beall, in the position. Based in New York, MaryJeanette is a partner in the firm’s government contracts, investigations and international trade practice group as well as co-team leader of the securities enforcement team.
The firm announced the opening of an office in Dallas—the firm’s eleventh in the United States and sixteenth worldwide. Dallas is an ideal new market for future growth as the firm has nearly 100 clients who are either headquartered or have substantial operations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The office opened with 10 lateral partners with practices in the areas of commercial litigation, employment litigation and counseling, fund formation and management, intellectual property litigation and portfolio management, mergers and acquisitions, real estate asset management, and white collar defense, including healthcare fraud and abuse and securities enforcement.
The firm represented Mastercard and negotiated separate multi-year sponsorship agreements with global soccer superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. The Messi and Neymar Jr. sponsorship deals are part of Mastercard’s broader “Start Something Priceless” campaign—an integrated social, digital, and cause marketing campaign to score against childhood hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The firm announced the promotion of 16 of its attorneys to partner: including Travis J. Anderson (Del Mar), Townsend L. Bourne (Washington, DC), Michael J. Chilleen (Orange County), John D. Edson (San Diego), Harris Gao (Shanghai), J. Aaron George (Washington, DC), Katarzyna Levecke (Chicago), Robert Mussig (Los Angeles), Justine M. Phillips (San Diego), Tamar R. Rosenberg (New York), Michael J. Roth (Chicago), Ericka J. Schulz (Del Mar), Robert L. Wernli, Jr. (Del Mar), Cheng Xu (Shanghai), Lai L. Yip (San Francisco and Palo Alto), and Michael X.Y. Zhang (Shanghai).
The firm entered into an agreement to team up with Saudi Arabia-based law firm Turkistani & Alabbad. This new relationship enables Sheppard Mullin to work closely with a dynamic Saudi Arabian law firm to provide legal services to clients who have Saudi Arabia-related business. Turkistani & Alabbad specializes in complex litigation and arbitration, government contracts, and corporate transactions, including real estate franchising and licensing.
The firm’s IP team won a complete trial victory for handset and smartphone manufacturer client TCL Communications against Ericsson, setting a worldwide precedent in the telecom industry addressing standard essential patent and FRAND licensing issues. The 114-page decision was announced in December, after a three-week trial in federal court in Santa Ana, CA.
Today’s Sheppard Mullin had a Roaring Twenties start in Los Angeles as a firm called Haight & Mathes. By the mid-1940s, and operating under its current name, the firm had become highly regarded (and still is) for its antitrust, finance, and employment law practices. Between 1977-86, the firm opened three other offices spanning the Golden State and added practices in key California industries, including aerospace and defense. In the '90s, the firm's specialties expanded to include a thriving corporate and securities practice, a prestigious real estate/land use/natural resources group, and a strong construction litigation practice.
To learn more about the firm's history click here.
333 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Phone: (213) 620-1780
Employer Type: Private
Executive Committee Chairman: Guy N. Halgren
Hiring Partners: Ronda Jamgotchian (Century City); Moe Keshavarzi & Olivier Théard (Los Angeles); Edward Tillinghast, III (New York); Dan Bane (Orange County); William Ahmann (Palo Alto); Jeralin Cardoso (Del Mar); John Dineen & Michael Leake (San Diego); Babak Yousefzadeh & Rob Guite (San Francisco); Don Williams (Shanghai); Paul Werner (Washington, DC); Kevin Cloutier & Larry Eppley(Chicago); Seth Kim (Seoul)
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 850
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week
31 out of 33 (2Ls) (2017)
Los Angeles, CA (Century City)
Los Angeles, CA (Downtown)
New York, NY
Orange County, CA (Costa Mesa)
Palo Alto, CA
San Diego, CA (Del Mar)
San Diego, CA (Downtown)
San Francisco, CA
Antitrust and Trade Regulation
Bankruptcy and Restructuring
Corporate and Securities
Entertainment, Technology and Advertising
Food and Drug Regulatory
Global Climate Change
Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade
Labor & Employment
Land Use & Natural Resources
Tax, Estate Planning and Private Wealth Litigation
White Collar & Civil Fraud Defense