“Almost every single firm in California is trying to expand their transactional practices,” Lechtick said.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Baker & Hostetler strengthens business and corporate, tax practice in Costa Mesa

Baker & Hostetler brings aboard 4 attorneys from Stradling Yocca

By Shane Nelson
Daily Journal Staff Writer

Baker & Hostetler LLP bolstered both the tax and business and corporate groups at its Costa Mesa office Thursday, adding two partners and two associates from Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth P.C.

New partner Goodarz Agahi joins associates Pace McCaskill and Ron Birnkrant in the Orange County location’s business and corporate division while partner Ryan Gaglio was added in the office’s tax practice.

“I think we looked like a good way for them to expand their practices with the scope of our platform,” John Gherlein, BakerHostetler’s business and corporate group chair, said of the new hires. “And we’re just really excited to have them.”

Praising Agahi’s background in mergers and acquisitions, Gherlein said the new partner’s history in tax law would also “be great for counseling entrepreneurs and businesses doing transactions.”

Gherlein added that Gaglio would bring something new to the Costa Mesa location’s strong tax practice, which has largely focused on wealth planning.

“Ryan [Gaglio] is much more of a traditional corporate partnership and transactional tax lawyer,” Gherlein explained. “So he just brings a little balance. He’ll be a resource we can use throughout the firm, not just out on the West Coast.”

Describing the Orange County branch as a relatively small office with a total of 15 to 20 lawyers, Gherlein indicated more growth could be ahead for BakerHostetler in Costa Mesa.

“I think this could be a steppingstone to a larger corporate group,” he said. “We’d love to do that. It’s not a huge market for that purpose, but it can certainly tolerate more than the three or four [business and corporate group] lawyers we’ve got now.”

According to Sandy Lechtick, a legal recruiter and president of Esquire Inc. who helped facilitate the attorneys’ move to BakerHostetler, business and corporate group lawyers are currently coveted talent.

“Almost every single firm in California is trying to expand their transactional practices,” Lechtick said. “So in the search arena, the area that’s probably in the highest demand right now is corporate, while mergers and acquisitions is also very hot.”

Still, Lechtick noted the recent departures wouldn’t be crushing for the smaller Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth.

“It always hurts when a firm loses its up-and-comers,” he said. “But they’ve got good folks, and this was really more of a great opportunity for these guys with the Baker firm as opposed to a slam on Stradling.”

shane_nelson@dailyjournal.com

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