In February last year Alexander Rufus-Isaacs and Mark Kalisch launched their new firm partly as an attempt to build a legal bridge between Los Angeles and the UK.
“We found it interesting that none of the UK firms have offices in Southern California,” says Rufus-Isaacs. “And while we realise that most of the larger firms have existing links with Californian counterparts, there are many mid-size and small [UK] firms who will occasionally need assistance from [local] lawyers.”
The pair’s business litigation-focused firm also handles commercial, entertainment, employment and insurance disputes. Clients include various leading underwriters and companies at Lloyd’s of London. Indeed, the international scope of the duo’s litigation practice has been evident from day one.
The pair launched their new firm after sensing a gap in the market for smoothing out some of the cultural differences between the US and UK dispute resolution markets.
“From a litigation point of view some of the English rules, such as ‘costs follow the event’, don’t apply in the US,” says Rufus-Isaacs. “Also, contingency fees are much more sophisticated over here.”
That might change following the Jackson review, but for now Rufus-Isaacs and Kalisch are confident that they have hit upon a solid business plan whereby they explain the US rules to UK clients in a language they can understand.
Despite their British roots the pair have more than 50 years of combined professional US experience. That should help with becoming a first port of call for UK solicitors in need of US counsel on the West Coast.
Firm: Kalisch Rufus-Isaacs
Managing partners (l-r): Mark Kalisch and Alexander Rufus-Isaacs
Turnover: Estimate up to $1.5m (£920,000) for first year
Number of partners: Two
Number of equity partners: Two
Number of lawyers: Six
Number of fee-earners: Six
Number of offices: One
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Main practice areas: Litigation, insurance, employment, entertainment transactional
Clients: Underwriters and companies at Lloyd’s of London, Dunbar Armored, Carsey Werner Distribution, Future Films, Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers