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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Bankruptcy Lawyer Lobel to Close Shop, Join Larger Firm

March 31, 2000|EDMUND SANDERS

William N. Lobel, one of Orange County's more well-known bankruptcy lawyers, said that he is dissolving his Newport Beach law partnership and joining Irell & Manella's Orange County office.

Lobel, 56, said the move reflects his desire to spend less time and energy managing a small law firm and more time working with clients and on outside business interests.

"This will give me more free time," said Lobel, who added that he plans to retire in six years.

Robert Opera, Lobel's partner at Lobel & Opera, has joined Winthrop Couchot, a boutique bankruptcy law firm also in Newport Beach, Lobel said. Opera could not be reached for comment.

Lobel said there was no discord in the breakup. Six Lobel & Opera associates will join Lobel at Irell & Manella, increasing the Los Angeles firm's Newport Beach office to 45 lawyers.

Bankruptcy cases currently being handled by Lobel & Opera, including the recent Chapter 11 filing by mortgage lender First Alliance Corp., will be transferred to Irell & Manella, Lobel said.

He said the larger firm also will allow him to better leverage his business relationships by referring clients to other divisions of Irell & Manella.

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