BakerHostetler Expands West Coast Corporate Team, Adding Eight M&A, Private Equity and Securities Attorneys

The major acquisition includes laterals from three different AmLaw 100 firms

Press Releases / May 8, 2023

LOS ANGELES — May 8, 2023

Key takeaways:
  • BakerHostetler adds eight corporate attorneys with central operations in Los Angeles; the lateral group includes partners who chaired their respective firms’ mergers and acquisitions and securities practices, along with their team members.
  • Prominent M&A lawyer Will Chuchawat, who previously chaired his AmLaw 50 firm’s M&A practice, joins with his team and becomes firmwide co-leader of BakerHostetler’s Mergers and Acquisitions team.
  • JR Lanis, former vice chair of his AmLaw 100 firm’s securities and corporate finance practice, also joins in Los Angeles in conjunction with an experienced team.
  • Chuchawat and Lanis are joined by partners Mark Ramzy and Bryan Wasser and associates Josh Demple and Seung Kim. The two remaining team members out of the group of eight arrive over the course of the next month and include an additional partner and counsel. 
  • The new arrivals create a 30-attorney corporate group in the firm’s West Coast offices with capabilities in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, emerging companies, venture capital, capital markets, securities, real estate, government contracts, and restructuring and bankruptcy.
Why this matters

Since 2019, BakerHostetler has added nearly 115 lawyers on the West Coast and opened an office in San Francisco. With these additions, the firm offers clients a full-service platform on the West Coast, including capabilities in corporate and business transactions, complex securities, consumer and class action litigation, data and privacy litigation, counseling and regulatory, labor and employment, intellectual property litigation and portfolio management, and wealth management.

BakerHostetler’s West Coast offices now have more than 30 core business attorneys, supplemented by 20 additional lawyers with transactional capabilities. Nationwide, the Business Practice Group consists of more than 250 attorneys serving clients around the globe.

In 2019, BakerHostetler announced its intention to expand on the West Coast. Since that time, the firm has hired dozens of attorneys in addition to the recent corporate team, including a restructuring and litigation group, led by Robert Julian, responsible for the firm’s representation in the PG&E mega Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed in the Bankruptcy Court for Northern California; an intellectual property litigation group, led by nationally renowned litigator Ed Poplawski; an intellectual property prosecution group, headed by Mark Itri, the former global head of IP for an AmLaw 50 firm; privacy expert Jennifer Mitchell, former vice president, privacy, legal compliance, Sony Entertainment; and high-profile securities and consumer litigators David Aronoff, Bethany Lukitsch and Phil Eskenazi.

Key quote

“Building a full-service platform on the West Coast with robust corporate capabilities has always been our strategic priority. With the addition of Will, JR and their teams, BakerHostetler now counts more than 30 corporate attorneys on the West Coast providing a tremendous value to our clients,” said Paul Schmidt, BakerHostetler chair.

“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 firm’s Business Practice Group. “This move is a significant step in extending our middle-market transactions platform westward.”

About Chuchawat and his team

Chuchawat is a notable mergers and acquisitions lawyer who has closed hundreds of deals across multiple industries. He most recently served as co-head of the private equity and mergers and acquisitions group at another AmLaw 50 firm. At BakerHostetler, he becomes co-head of the firm’s national Mergers & Acquisitions team.

Chuchawat represents private equity and venture capital funds and public and private companies in numerous industries, including technology, health care, consumer products, business services, industrials, aerospace and defense, life sciences, financial services, and media.

Chuchawat has been consistently recognized as one of the top attorneys in the nation, including by the Legal 500, Law360, Super Lawyers and the M&A Advisor, among others, and the LA Business Journal has named him one of the most influential minority lawyers.

Chuchawat earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Chuchawat’s team includes Ramzy, an M&A partner who joins from another AmLaw 50 firm, and a handful of other attorneys from two different AmLaw 50 firms, all of whom are reuniting with Chuchawat at BakerHostetler.

Ramzy earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar.

About Lanis and his team

Prior to arriving at BakerHostetler, Lanis served as vice chair of his AmLaw 100 firm’s securities and capital markets practice. He is known for his work in structuring and negotiating public stock and debt offerings, tender offers, rights offerings, initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions transactions of all types, 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’ clients include publicly traded and privately held companies and investors in a variety of industries, with an emphasis on technology, financial services, hospitality, life sciences and energy.

Lanis earned his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law. He received his MBA from Yale University School of Management and his A.B. from Brown University.

Lanis is joined by Wasser, also a partner, who is a certified public accountant and former Big Four financial auditor. He earned his J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and a MAcc and a B.S., cum laude, from the University of Southern California.

Key quote

“We are thrilled to welcome attorneys from three different AmLaw 100 firms to the West Coast business group,” said Eric Sagerman, managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office. “Their addition puts an exclamation mark on our expansion in California, which now tops 115 new attorney hires in the past four years.”

For more information on BakerHostetler’s Business Practice Group, visit Connect with us on Twitter at @BakerHostetler or on LinkedIn @BakerHostetler, @JohnAllotta, @EricSagerman, @WillChuchawat and @JRLanis.


About BakerHostetler

BakerHostetler helps clients around the world address their most complex and critical business and regulatory issues. Our highly ranked attorneys deliver sophisticated counsel and outstanding client service. We have six core practice groups — Business, Digital Assets and Data Management, Intellectual Property, Labor and Employment, Litigation, and Tax — and more than 1,000 lawyers coast to coast. For more information, visit