Since four attorneys from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan opened Lee Tran & Liang a decade ago, the firm has developed a solid reputation for wins in intellectual property, commercial disputes and employment law and has developed a roster of top clients including AT&T Inc., The Walt Disney Co. and Vizio Inc.
In 2013, its string of successes grew a lot longer. Describing itself as the largest litigation-only minority- owned law firm, the boutique is loading up on lawyers. It expects by March to have 24 attorneys, including the nine it hired in 2013 and three more joining this year.
Last year, Lee Tran managed to secure a dismissal — without payment — on behalf of energy giant Southern California Edison Co. Hydroelectronic power equipment company SBIW Inc. had sued SoCal Edison for misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with the refurbishing of a SoCal Edison plant. SBIW, which alleged about $5 million in trade secrets damages, was the subcontractor on the project, and is also suing the general contractor General Electric Co. in a parallel case in New York. Lee Tran moved the case from New York to Los Angeles and secured dismissal of one of the claims. Following discovery, SBIW moved to dismiss the action.
William Frimel of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Heffernan Seubert & French opposed Lee Tran in the action. He said that K. Luan Tran, who represented SoCal Edison, was "focused on the key issues, particularly the
ones where [Frimel’s] case was
not the strongest.” Frimel added, "He did not make things difficult for the sake of making them difficult.” He described Luan Tran as "personable.”
Also last year, Lee Tran successfully defended a patent infringement action for Vizio over video-signaling technology and mounted another defense for AMC LLC in a wage-andhour class action that is still pending.
Right now, Lee Tran is wrestling its biggest fish ever. The litigation is a battle waged by Frank Reginald "Reggie” Brown against Snapchat Inc., the Venice, Calif., company behind a popular app that lets users send text messages, pictures and videos that self-destruct seconds after being received. Snapchat’s counsel? Quinn Emanuel.
Brown, Lee Tran’s client, who claims he initially came up with the Snapchat idea, has sued for damages in excess of $1 billion. It’s reminiscent of the Hollywoodcelebrated 2008 legal battle between Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Facebook Inc. chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg over the original idea behind the social-networking site.
"Obviously, in sheer size and potential amount, Snapchat put us on the map. It’s the largest case in our firm’s history,” said Luan Tran, the lead attorney representing Brown. In that and other cases, the firm tries "to be very efficient with a targeted approach,” he said. "We fight hard but fair for our clients. We don’t file a lot of B.S. motions.”
- I learned this from my old boss John B. Quinn: From the moment you get a case, you’ve got to start thinking about every element of it in depth immediately, from discovery to jury instruction.
- We believe in holding mock trials. You’re risking malpractice without them.
- Juries are smarter than you think they are, and if you’re caught doing something you can’t back up, that’s going to negatively reflect on your client.
—K. Luan Tran
|Founded: 2003 |
Based: Los Angeles Total No. of Attorneys: 24