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Carlton Fields Continues Strategic Growth in Los Angeles

Firm Welcomes Five Attorneys in Key Practice Areas

Los Angeles, Calif. – Further expanding its Los Angeles, California office, Carlton Fields welcomes five new attorneys: Robert P. Friedman (real estate) Amir Kaltgrad (business litigation), Kim S. Zeldin (business litigation), Justin E. Garratt (mass tort and product liability), and Austin L. Jackson (securities and derivative litigation). These additions follow the hiring of former Venable partner, Ellyn S. Garofalo, fellow Los Angeles trial attorney, in December 2021 as the office now approaches 20 lawyers.

“Adding Robert, Amir, Kim, Justin, and Austin to the Los Angeles office demonstrates our continuing program to attract top legal talent,” said Mark Neubauer, Carlton Fields’ Los Angeles Office Managing Shareholder. “We are focused on growing key practice and industry areas which are important to our clients. These new additions are natural complements to our national practices across the firm.”

Friedman is a real estate and business law attorney with more than 40 years of transactional experience. His addition strengthens the firm’s Real Estate and Commercial Finance Practice, which recently earned first-tier national rankings in the U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2022 guide. He primarily advises commercial developers, property owners, and tenants in a variety of transactional matters. His clients also include wealthy individuals, families, trusts, and small and midsize businesses.

Prior to joining Carlton Fields, Friedman ran his own firm for more than 25 years. He manages all aspects of legal work on behalf of clients, including strategy, negotiation, and documentation of agreements involving a wide variety of corporate and real estate transactions. His practice includes entity formation, acquisition, development, joint venture documentation, financing, and sales. He is experienced in handling real estate deals involving public-private partnerships.

“I am thrilled to bring my practice to Carlton Fields, which offers a first-class national team to support the bustling real estate industry as the economy grows,” Friedman said.

Friedman’s notable work includes representing a promote partner in connection with the sale by an existing equity partner of partnership interests in nine shopping centers. The total value of assets included in the complex transaction involving multiple partners and lenders was nearly $500 million. In another matter, he represented a joint venture in a $46 million, 75-year ground lease for the ownership and development of a shopping center adjacent to the expansion of a Los Angeles housing project. He negotiated the ground lease and disposition and development agreement, the joint venture agreement with an equity partner, and new markets tax credit financing in the complex matter involving a public-private partnership.

Neubauer added, “I have known Robert for years and am pleased we could convince him to join us. Robert’s wide-ranging transactional experience bolsters our existing West Coast capabilities in real estate financing, and complements Carlton Fields’ national real estate platform which is one of the largest in the country.”

Friedman serves as president of the board of trustees of Turning Point School in Culver City, California. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A., with honors, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Kaltgrad joins the firm from Venable where he worked closely with new LA Shareholder Garofalo. He is an experienced trial attorney providing clients with comprehensive representation in complex business litigation through all phases of the trial process, from client intake through trial and beyond, including motion practice and appeals.

He represents businesses and individuals in a variety of commercial litigation matters, including shareholder and partnership disputes, professional malpractice, complex business torts, real estate, and contract disputes. His recent notable cases include obtaining a defense verdict, after an eight-week jury trial, in a $100 million partnership dispute arising from the acquisition of a wellness resort and obtaining a $32 million judgment for cyber theft by a former officer of a digital internet advertising company.

Additionally he has valuable trial experience in federal and state court in cases of first impression, including representing clients in high-stakes litigation and white collar criminal defense. He has experience defending individuals and corporations in a range of criminal and regulatory matters, including securities and health care fraud.

Kaltgrad received his J.D. from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law and his B.S., cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Zeldin has extensive experience defending and prosecuting complex civil matters in federal and state trial and appellate courts in California and across the country, including class actions, breach of contract claims, business torts, defamation, real estate, intellectual property, mass tort, employment, ERISA, breach of fiduciary duty, and other complex civil litigation on behalf of businesses, government entities, and individuals in the financial services, utilities, entertainment, media, pharmaceutical, consumer, engineering, education, and technology industries. In addition to her 30-plus years as a litigator, she was the general counsel of a multiplatform, Spanish-language media company for several years, where she managed and oversaw all aspects of the company’s regulatory compliance (including adherence to FCC reporting obligations), insurance coverage, intellectual property, lease and real property rights, and its human resources department.

Zeldin received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and her B.A., with highest honors, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Garratt focuses his practice on products liability, mass tort, and business litigation. He serves on national and local trial counsel teams for clients in a variety of industries, including aviation, vertical transportation, HVAC, and raw minerals. He handles all aspects of the litigation process, from pre-suit evaluation through discovery, law and motion, trial, and appeal, in state and federal court proceedings. He also has experience handling professional liability and business litigation matters.

Garratt received his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and his B.A. from the University of California.

Jackson’s practice focuses on complex securities litigation, white collar criminal defense, and enforcement actions prompted by federal and state regulators. He has represented domestic and foreign companies, executive officers, and directors in connection with alleged violations of the securities laws, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, anti-money laundering, and antitrust laws. He has handled matters involving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and various state attorneys general offices.

Jackson joins the firm from the Law Office of Thomas V. Sjoblom, PLLC in Los Angeles. Thomas Sjoblom joins Carlton Fields in Washington, D.C. Jackson received his J.D. from California Western School of Law and his B.S. from North Carolina State University.


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