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Buchalter High-Stakes Litigator Rockin’ Right Along

For Eric Kennedy, the managing shareholder at Buchalter in Orange County, occasionally singing in his own rock band is a lively change of pace from the formality of his legal practice.

“Our punk version of ‘Sweet Caroline’ is a crowd favorite,” Kennedy said of the Neil Diamond classic from the late 1960s.

Kennedy recently took over the managing shareholder role at the firm, whose Irvine office ranks No. 10 on this week’s list of largest law firms in Orange County.

In his off hours, Kennedy can sometimes be found as the lead singer in the rock band Attractive Nuisance, which performs at the Law Rocks Battle of the Bands, a global charity event.

The Battle of the Bands is held every year at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood and other venues around the world.

Last year, the LA show raised more than $250,000 over two nights, a record amount, with the event including performances from 13 bands, Kennedy told the Business Journal on March 5.

“My band—including lawyers from Buchalter, Allen Matkins, Doll Amir & Eley, and Latham & Watkins—has won the competition four times over the years,” Kennedy told the Business Journal on Feb. 23.

He said the band has pulled back a bit, and now only plays two to four times per year.

The next Law Rocks is on March 23, and Attractive Nuisance will be playing a charity performance to benefit the Ketchum YMCA in downtown Los Angeles.

‘Huge Departure’

“Being on stage is a huge departure from my normal, buttoned-up attorney persona,” Kennedy said. “It’s like an alter ego comes out. I get to leave everything behind and just have fun.”

He practiced in Los Angeles for 10 years and came back to OC about a year and a half ago.

His post as new office managing shareholder of Buchalter’s OC outpost was announced in January.

Prior to joining Buchalter, Kennedy was with Jones Day and Latham & Watkins.

Kennedy says there is nothing in his current firm’s OC office that needs revamping or overhauling.

He added: “We look forward to a lot more growth in Orange County.”

One of Buchalter’s largest offices, the Irvine office, has more than 100 employees, including over 60 attorneys with particular strengths in corporate, litigation, intellectual property, real estate, insolvency, healthcare and white-collar crime law.

Kennedy wants to see “a lot more lawyers joining the firm in our core practice areas.”
His conservative estimate is that the OC office aims to add “somewhere between five and 10” lawyers this year.

“Most of our growth at Buchalter is through laterals,” Kennedy said.

Last year, Buchalter celebrated its 40th anniversary in Orange County. The firm in total counts about 470 attorneys at its 12 offices spread across California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Tennessee.

Real Estate Work

Kennedy handles a lot of real estate disputes and corporate disputes that relate to governance and finance.

He serves as chair of the firm’s Partnership Evaluation and Recruiting Committees, co-chair of the Pro Bono Committee, and member of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Kennedy routinely handles real estate disputes involving owners, developers, landlords and commercial tenants. He regularly represents clients in disputes involving corporate financing, governance and operations.

He also has significant experience defending consumer class actions and handling disputes involving contracts, unfair competition and fiduciary relationships.

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