banner
Home / Blog / Top Lawyers in Hollywood: Variety Legal Impact Report 2023
Blog

Top Lawyers in Hollywood: Variety Legal Impact Report 2023

Jun 23, 2024Jun 23, 2024

With the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, and a possible writers’ strike looming ahead, these top showbiz attorneys score wins for their clients and make deals to keep them ahead of the curve.

For editorial questions, please contact Peter Caranicas at [email protected].

LITIGATION

Principals

Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow

The launch of major studios’ in-house streaming platforms put Hollywood self-dealing into hyperdrive, and the Bird Marella team has made headlines litigating the fallout. Berlinski resolved producer Katie O’Connell Marsh’s multiyear litigation against Gaumont Television related to the Netflix series “Narcos” on the eve of trial in November 2022 and is currently repping Chuck Norris in a lawsuit alleging underpayment of profit participation for his series “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He also currently reps Genting Group, the second-largest casino operator in the world, in ongoing matters related to the development and operation of Genting SkyWorlds, a billion-dollar Fox-themed amusement park outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nessim and Cherlow engineered an eve-of-trial settlement in 2022 for the holders of a package commission on the original “MacGyver” in a breach of contract suit against CBS Studios regarding the current iteration of the series, and they’re repping “Supernatural” creator Eric Kripke in an upcoming arbitration for a nine-figure profit-participation dispute with Warner Bros. Nessim also regularly reps SAG-AFTRA in connection with employment restraints in actor contracts.

Consistent inconsistencies: “The standards for judging these self-dealing transactions are often very similar or identical, but the methodologies that these different studios use to arrive at self-dealing license fees are wildly different,” says Berlinski.

LITIGATION

Chair, Entertainment & Media Litigation

Partner

Partner

Partner

Venable

Brenner repped Mattel pressing a Barbie trademark lawsuit over a snack product that was settled in September. Briggs defends Da Baby in accusations against him regarding rental property damage and alleged assault & battery. Cronin specializes in media and entertainment insurance recovery, copyright, idea theft, trademark and profit-participation disputes. Fink reps studios and production companies pursuing and defending litigation. Fink works breach of contract, profit participations, copyright and intellectual property matters. Sometimes he handles talent in those matters. Their clients include studios, production companies, a sports coach, celebrities, directors and TV series showrunners. The quartet, all trial attorneys, are based in Century City. Other matters handled by these attorneys remain confidential.

Dusty and moldy: When TV shows and movies from the 1980s and earlier are revived, Brenner says that an archival paper chase ensues in reviewing dusty old contracts. He adds that often those contracts are unsigned with back-and-forth correspondence attached, although it’s often an exchange of disagreements. “Determining what the contract might be, if there ever was one, is like being a detective,” he says.

LITIGATION

Partner, Co-Chair, Media, Entertainment & Technology Practice Group

Partner, Co-Chair Global Trial Practice Group

Partner, Co-Chair, Global Trade Secrets Practice Group

Partner

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Edelman and Samplin represented NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. in multiple confidential TV-related arbitrations, and separately they won Apple/iTunes a verdict defeating willful infringement claims from music composers last year. Edelman successfully defended Netflix in November against an employment emotional-distress claim. Snyder defended MGM in settling a Starz lawsuit in October over film exclusivity, and also defended Lady Gaga from threatened legal action over a hit song. In July, Snyder and Ascher won Bob Dylan a dismissal over allegations of long-ago abuse, and the duo separately got songwriting ownership claims dismissed for clients Dylan and Universal Music. The four won summary judgment dismissals for AMC Networks in “The Walking Dead” profit-participation lawsuit a year ago. Edelman and Samplin are in Los Angeles; Snyder and Ascher work in New York.

Reality check: According to Ascher, docudramas based on true events are triggering more defamation lawsuits. “There are a growing number of cases that are working their way through the system,” he says, adding that producers are beefing up their posted disclaimers. Samplin observes that more states enact anti-SLAPP laws bolstering defenses for freedom of expression. “The implication is that content creators will have a means to get meritless cases related to speech disposed of quickly,” she adds.

LITIGATION

Partner

Ellis George Cipollone O’Brien Annaguey

Ellis’ career changed direction after he attended Cal State Fullerton on a football scholarship with hopes of going pro. Instead, he wound up following in the footsteps of his mother, who earned her law degree in night school and went on to become a Superior Court judge. After nearly 25 years focused on corporate litigation at the Paul Hastings firm, Ellis joined his current firm in 2020, taking on more clients from the entertainment world, including childhood friend Faizon Love, whom he repped in a (now-settled) race discrimination suit against Universal over his removal from the overseas posters for “Couples Retreat.” He also filed suit on behalf of Bam Margera over his dismissal from “Jackass Forever.” Other clients include cosmetic companies L’Oréal, Avon and Sunday Riley.

Believing in justice: “I can’t practice in a profession that I think is inherently unfair,” Ellis says.

LITIGATION

Partners

Latham & Watkins

Ellison repped TV host Marcus Lemonis pursuing arbitration over CNBC show “The Profit” in May. For concert giant Live Entertainment, Gass and Bina handle ongoing litigation, including the Taylor Swift ticketing breakdown, and public policy initiatives. Gass reps the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts asserting fair use before the U.S. Supreme Court over the “Prince Series” of art prints of a rock star sourced from another person’s photograph. Bina defended Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen and Larry David in a November lawsuit related their roles as presenters in advertising for troubled FTX crypto currency outfit. Washington advises actor/ filmmaker Edward Norton and affiliates over a fatal on-set accident, with nine of 10 lawsuits settled. Other clients include Beyoncé/Parkwood Entertainment; Endeavor; concert promoter First Access Entertainment; Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.; and ICM Partners in its June sale. Ellison, Bina and Washington are based in Century City; Gass works out of San Francisco.

Live music litigation: Washington expects consumers, tired of pandemic confinement, to continue to surge into live music concerts for experiential entertainment, which likely will trigger an uptick in ticketing and audience-safety issues. “I think we’re going to see more legal issues around music,” she says.

LITIGATION

Partner, Chair, Litigation Dept.

Partner, Chair, Employment Dept.

Partner

Partner

Glaser Weil

The quartet reps exec producer Karyn McCarthy pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit involving Disney+ series “The Acolyte” in March, and separately Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies in a breach-of-contract lawsuit from not participating in a 2018 purchase of Weinstein Co. Glaser, Garvis Wright, Baum and Gerchik are in Century City. The attorneys also repped Jeff Zucker in his CNN separation and as witness in claims by former employee Chris Cuomo against CNN parent WarnerMedia. They also advised Imax in defending against a $7 million commissions claim by a former employee, resolved in December. Other clients include CBS-Paramount, Sony Pictures, rewards-oriented marketing agency Infillion, Pittsburgh Penguins-related partnership Lemieux Group, Hollywood business management giant NKSFB, boxing’s Freddie Roach, Lincoln Project’s Steve Schmidt and Ryan Seacrest. Most recently, Glaser repped longtime Marvel Studios executive Victoria Alonso in her rancorous departure from Disney.

Bad form: Glaser says threats of frivolous lawsuits that seek to leverage fear of bad publicity for quick out-of-court settlements are rising: “Shame on lawyers for doing it. What you’ve done is hurt claims where somebody has genuinely been injured.” Baum adds that the arm-twisting includes threats to drag along a prospective defendant’s uninvolved employer, “putting self-imposed pressure to settle what otherwise would be just a frivolous case.”

LITIGATION

Co-Chair, Litigation

Partner

Partner

Partner

Loeb & Loeb

Loeb & Loeb’s litigation team has been in the news with a gaggle of high-profile rights disputes in recent months. Grossman is defending Paramount against the estate of Truman Capote’s claim that they own the rights to the 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; Netflix and Matt and Ross Duffer in a copyright infringement suit regarding “Stranger Things”; and NBCUniversal, Gary Oldman and Working Title in a suit by a writer alleging that material from his scripts about Winston Churchill woundup in their film “Darkest Hour.” Curry focuses on commercial and IP litigation, defending CBS in lawsuits over its Jason Boyarski program “Judge Judy” and Gaumont Television USA in a pair of profit-participation lawsuits. Gatti successfully represented singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman in a copyright infringement case based on rapper and songwriter Nicky Minaj’s sampling of Chapman’s works without permission, in which the result was a judgment entered in federal court in Chapman’s favor for the full amount requested. Hwang has been repping Condé Nast in its trademark and false advertising action against Drake and 21 Savage over their use of a fake issue of Vogue to promote their album “Her Loss.”

Purloined pitches, stolen scripts: “In the greater group of laypeople, there are assumptions about ideas being taken, but in my experience, that doesn’t happen,” says Grossman.

LITIGATION

Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry Group, Co-Chair, Commercial LitigationPractice Group

Partner, Co-Chair, Music Industry Group, Vice Chair, Sports Industry Group

Partner, Chair, Music Industry Group

Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry Group, Co-Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative

Covington & Burling

Kamin worked middle-of-litigation settlements for broadcaster Nexstar Media earlier this year, resolving separate contract disputes over cable TV retransmission fees with Charter Communications and Comcast. Kamin and Sahni repped a Paramount Global subsidiary overturning an Illinois cable franchise fee targeting streamer Paramount+. Sahni and Sperling repped Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony Music Entertainment settling in August their copyright infringement cases against Charter Communications and Bright House Networks for allegedly facilitating piracy. DelNero led a team getting regulatory approval for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision buying $4.8 billion in media assets last year to create TelevisaUnivision. Kamin and Sahni work in Century City; Sperling is based in New York; and regulatory focused DelNero is in Washington, D.C. The foursome is a litigation team that leverages regulatory and transactional insights.

Contractually speaking: Hollywood companies that increasingly feed their content to in-house video streaming platforms walk a tightrope with third-party buyers, talent with royalty participations and financial partners expecting traditional sequential distribution, say Kamin and DelNero. “It’s a real balancing act because most everyone is in the same boat wanting to do the same thing,” per Kamin. So contracts across Hollywood get scrutinized for justification to support various views on content distribution.

LITIGATION

Partners

Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley

The Kinsella Weitzman litigation team handles a wide range of high-profile cases involving everything from corporate matters to the most intimate interactions. Trial lawyer Kinsella is well-known for having negotiated a $200 million settlement for creator Frank Darabont and CAA in their profit-participation suit against AMC over “The Walking Dead” in 2021, and Kump had the nearly $31 million award he won from Kevin Spacey for “House of Cards” producer MRC confirmed last August. Music-focused Iser scored a confidential settlement for producers/songwriters Justin Raisen, Jeremiah Raisen and Justin “Yves” Rothman in a suit over Lizzo’s failure to credit them for their role in creating her song “Truth Hurts.” Kump and Holley’s client list reads like it’s been ripped from the headlines: Kump is the longtime counsel to Kardashian and Jenner family members and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Holly is currently defending Shia LaBeouf in an ongoing civil case filed by FKA Twigs, Danny Masterson in the retrial of his criminal sexual assault case and boxing legend George Foreman and Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler in cases involving sexual assaults that allegedly occurred more than 40 and 50 years ago, respectively.

This isn’t Twitter: “We don’t make judgments,” says Iser. “We fervently represent those who entrust us to represent them.”

LITIGATION

Partner, Chair, Entertainment & Media Litigation Practice

Partner, Entertainment & Media Litigation Practice

Partner, Entertainment & Media Litigation Practice

Of Counsel, Entertainment & Media Litigation Practice

Paul Hastings

Marenberg reps ABC Television and 20th Century Fox Animation for their ongoing defense of policies mandating employee vaccinations. Marenberg and Gordon are working for Pixar in a beach-of-contract case dating to June. Godley defends Bravo Media and NBCUniversal in federal litigation bought by NeNe Leakes alleging racial issues on the set of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Godley also handles an ongoing arbitration for play-to-earn blockchain adventure game Mobland over rights involving NFTs. Pearl specializes in defamation and free speech disputes in the entertainment and sports sectors. The Century City-based litigation group’s other clients include Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery, Activision Blizzard, golfer Greg Norman and William Morris/Endeavor. The attorneys also work investigations and litigation involving sexual harassment, gender bias and other allegations of misconduct.

Drawing the lines: Godley notes that it’s unsettled how the law will apply to deepfakes that manipulate images and audio of celebrities, showing them doing things that aren’t genuine. “It’s obviously a disruptive moment and the industry is trying to find its way on various different fronts,” says Godley. Celebs get no compensation for deepfake usage.

LITIGATION

Partner, Trial Practice Chair, Firm Vice Chair

Partner, Entertainment, Sports & Media Group Co-Chair

Partner

Partner

O’Melveny & Myers

The venerable O’Melveny & Myers (founded in Los Angeles in 1885) boasts an appropriately impressive entertainment litigation team, led by Petrocelli, who first rose to national prominence winning a wrongful death suit against O.J. Simpson in 1997. Petrocelli’s recent victories include securing a new trial for NBCUniversal in a $71 million profit-participation case involving the series “Columbo”; winning a motion to compel arbitration for Warner Bros. in its ongoing disputes with film financier Village Roadshow (with Kline); successfully resolving Activision Blizzard’s executive poaching suit against Netflix (with Lens); and confidential cases for Disney involving profit participation on several iconic TV series (with Breuder). Lens and Petrocelli are also handling a series of lawsuits involving copyright termination rights for iconic Marvel characters (including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man and Black Widow) and Lens is defending Paramount in a copyright infringement lawsuit over the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” involving a 1983 article that served as the source material for the original 1986 movie.

Profit-participation potential on self-owned streamers: “I think you often see properties do better than they would have, but because of the interest in exploiting what is yours,” says Lens. “Also, the studios very intentionally make sure that that they would stand up as if they were third-party deals.”

LITIGATION

Partner, Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media Industry Group

Latham & Watkins

Putnam defends Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen and Larry David against claims for fronting crypto-currency advertising. The Century City-based litigator settled a wrongful death lawsuit for concert promoter First Access Entertainment in February. He also reps Beyoncé/Parkwood Entertainment, Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., ICM Partners in its sale and Miramax defending Harvey Weinstein-related matters.

Taking off the gloves: Putnam says that celebrities are becoming less inclined to shrug off defamation, as social media spews more trash talk and serious journalism is diluted by free-wheeling digital media. It’s “open season for defamation in a way that I’ve never seen before,” he says. Putnam adds that it’s a delicate decision whether to press claims because journalists have legal protections, while celebrities do not.

LITIGATION

Shareholder, Media & Entertainment Litigation Practice

Greenberg Traurig

After freeing Britney Spears from a conservatorship 17 months ago, Rosengart still represents the pop singer in follow-on matters alleging mismanagement, dissipation of funds, fee disputes and accounting issues. Earlier this month, after two years of litigation, Rosengart, along with fellow GT shareholders Chuck Birenbaum and Jonathan S. Sack, secured a victory for CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) and actor/activist Sean Penn wherein, upon hearing the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) evidence at trial, Judge Lisa D. Ross dismissed a complaint filed against the organization by the NLRB. “It was an honor, as always, to represent CORE and Sean Penn, and to uphold important principles of law,” said Rosengart following the victory. Other Rosengart clients include Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Casey Affleck, Gisele Bündchen, Sean Penn, Keanu Reeves and Canadian rockers Arcade Fire. Variety awarded him its Power of Law Award in 2022 for legal excellence and philanthropy.

Personal touch: During the pandemic, depositions were video-conferenced, and Rosengart is glad that it’s back mostly to in-person. “The logjam has broken,” says the attorney, adding that he’s as busy as ever.

LITIGATION

Partner

Blank Rome

The Blank Rome team specializes in matrimonial law, an inherently contentious, emotional and personal field made all the more intense by their focus on celebrity and high-net-worth clients. Although their cases tend to be highly confidential, many have been widely covered in the press, including their handling of recent divorces for Channing Tatum, Jeff Garlin, Forest Whitaker and Arnold Schwarzenegger by Royce, and model/actress/author Emily Ratajkowski and Pamala Davis, the wife of 1-800-LAWYERS founder Bruce Davis, by Ward. Oft-quoted in the press, Chinitz has handled high-profile divorces for movie stars Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas and TV personality Wendy Williams over the course of her more than 40 years as an attorney. Royce and Ward co-chair the firm’s family law practice out of its Los Angeles and New York offices, respectively, and Chinitz works out of New York City and Greenwich, Conn., where she lives.

It’s not business, it’s personal: “They call attorneys two different things: lawyers and counselors. And in the matrimonial family law field, the term counselor plays a much larger role than in many other aspects of the law,” says Ward.

LITIGATION

Partner

Partner; Chair, Internet, Digital Media & Entertainment Practice

Partner

Senior Counsel

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles

The SA&M entertainment team specializes in cutting-edge investment and M&A deals and disputes. Litigator Rozansky is defending SSS Film Capital in an ongoing suit over its emergency financing of the 2022 film “The Fallout” and he works alongside Kirchner to help top unscripted TV producers protect their intellectual property and enforce advance waivers for tortious conduct that are unique to the space. Corporate dealmaker Akselrud serves as legal advisor for Allied Management Group, co-founded by former NBCUniversal exec John Pollak and actor producer Wilmer Valderrama. He also led the teams handling the estate of Leonard Cohen’s catalog sale to Hipgnosis Song Management and Crooked Media’s financing deal with Soros Fund Management, and repped GoDigital Media Group in its acquisitions of Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores and (with MEP Capital) Sound Royalties and NGL Collective. Additionally, Akselrud worked with Laffey as corporate counsel for Chamberlain Coffee in a financing round and YouTube duo Rhett & Link’s Mythical Entertainment in its joint ventures and investments.

If there’s a guild strike…: “You might see a rise in audits by profit participants trying to recover income that that might be owed to them, or people looking at business ventures, like a coffee or alcohol brand or a restaurant,” says Rozansky.

LITIGATION

Partner, Chair, Commercial Litigation & Crisis Management

Partner, Commercial Litigation & Crisis Management

Partner, Commercial Litigation & Crisis Management

Associate, Crisis Management

Meister Seelig & Fein

By focusing on crisis management, Schuster, Ashby, Fritz and Hutzel help clients navigate everything from extortion and asset recovery to criminal charges and scandals. They’ve resolved cases for professional athletes facing criminal charges and helped high-profile, wealthy individuals deal with blackmailers. Always forefront in their minds is that their clients—plaintiffs and defendants alike—are going through the worst experiences of their lives. That’s why they offer constant communication, support and follow-through even long after cases are resolved, Schuster says. Client confidentiality is a priority, so they don’t discuss specifics, but they are currently defending UTA in two New York State litigations and representing TikTik star Tayler Holder against sexual assault rumors.

People’s court: “The way people are meeting today through social media scares me a lot,” says Schuster. “The weaponization of social media allows people to go on whatever platform—Instagram, Twitter, etc.—and get an audience. And before you know it, you’re guilty until proven innocent, because the court of public opinion has turned against you. It’s really impossible to combat.”

LITIGATION

Partner, Head, Media & Entertainment Group

Partner

Partner

Associate

Russ August & Kabat

The Russ August & Kabat team’s practice has been in the news lately for handling headline-making disputes for high-profile music industry figures. It’s defending Drake in a trademark infringement suit by Conde Nast over his distribution of a Vogue magazine parody to promote his album “Her Loss,” as well as in more than 150 suits filed against him over his guest appearance at Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld concert. The team has also been repping Scott “Scooter” Braun and his companies in a variety of matters, including a $50 million suit brought by former business partner Peter Comisar that reached a confidential settlement in late 2022, and Post Malone in four litigations, two of which have been dismissed on favorable terms. Other noteworthy clients include Simon Cowell and his Syco Entertainment (advising on “America’s Got Talent”; negotiating his talent agreement for multiple NBC shows), plastic surgeon Dr. Arian Mowlavi (defamation suit against social media personality Chalene Johnson), actor Rob Riggle (invasion of privacy suit against his ex-wife) and fashion stylist Cristina Ehrlich (suit by a disgruntled employee dismissed with prejudice).

Lawsuits of the future: “Technology is dictating most of where litigation is going,” says Stein. “As A.I. rolls out, you’ll have interesting issues of ownership and copyright.”

LITIGATION

Partners

Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae

Sullivan and McRae handle high-profile transactions and litigation, as well as crisis management. Sullivan has been repping attorney Kevin Morris in various legal matters since news broke about his friendship with Hunter Biden. His other clients include Miley Cyrus, Chaz Dean, Lionsgate and Enderby En- tertainment (for whom he troubleshot Web 3.0 legal issues surrounding the NFT release of their movie “Zero Contact”). McRae is currently handling a suit by Kurt McLeod, who scripted the Gerard Butler-starrer “Copshop,” against his former manager Mark Williams regarding the latter’s role as producer on the film, alleging breach of fiduciary duties and conflicts of interest; and Trina Venit’s domestic violence and coercive control suit against her estranged husband, former WME agent Adam Venit.

Hello, he lied: “Lawyers are heavily regulated for conflicts of interest, so when you see the stuff other professionals and fiduciaries are getting away with, it’s kind of mind-boggling,” says McRae.

LITIGATION

Partner

Lavely & Singer

Weinsten reps entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz and his company Prospect Park in a trial against a rapper; Charlamagne tha God defending claims in litigation; and reality TV’s the Chrisley family in a contract breach dispute against NBC (Todd and Julie Chrisley were separately convicted of fraud). The Century City-based litigator also counts Paris Hilton, Ellen DeGeneres and Elliot Page as clients.

In a fighting mood: Weinsten finds celebrities pushing back when slammed by demand letter from attorneys representing third parties seeking payments, in exchange for not exposing alleged celebrity wrongdoing. “We are seeing clients fighting back filing claims for civil extortion even when no money is paid,” he says. Weinsten adds that courts increasingly rule demand letters are not protected communications.

MUSIC

Partners

Alter Kendrick & Baron

Alter and Baron closed deals worth over $3 billion during the past 12 months. They represented Primary Wave in the acquisition of music publishing and master recording catalogs of iconic artists such as the Doors, the Ramones, Def Leppard, Alice in Chains, Huey Lewis and the News, and the Strokes. They also helped Influence Media Partners team with BlackRock Alternative Investors and Warner Music Group on a new fund and transactions that included acquiring stakes in the catalogs of Blake Shelton, Future and Tainy.

Advice for would-be music lawyers: “Saying ‘I don’t want to know about any other disciplines’ is shortsighted and will not make you the most valuable attorney,” says Alter. “In the short term, this business may become even more heavily M&A as new players enter the scene with five- or 10-year plans.”

MUSIC

Shareholder

Shareholder

Shareholder, Senior Chair, N.Y. Entertainment & Media Practice

Greenberg Traurig

Biederman represented Apollo Global Management in its $1.8 billion music asset-backed securitization of the Concord Music catalog, the largest music industry transaction of 2022. He also represented Litmus in its purchase of Keith Urban’s recordings catalog, which includes 10 multi-platinum or gold-certified studio albums and a greatest hits compilation. Schindler negotiated Open on Sunday’s acquisition of the publishing catalogs of Keith Sweat, BB King, Liz Rose, Jacob Banks, Eric Bellinger and Metro Boomin. Plinio was responsible for a variety of agreements concerning Katy Perry’s Las Vegas residency, and a substantial celebrity endorsement and sponsorship agreement for Perry as the godmother to Norwegian Cruise Line’s innovative ship, Norwegian Prima.

MUSIC

Managing Partner

Boyarski Fritz

Over the last year, Boyarski negotiated over $175 million in transactions involving catalog sales, endorsements, branding, live events, visual rights, publishing and recording for a wide range of artists and estates, from Meek Mill and JVKE to Prince, Donny Hathaway, and hitmakers Tainy, Louis Bell and Stargate. Boyarski’s expertise allows him to navigate the ever-changing landscape of music — counseling creatives on nontraditional deal structures, and advocating for more “forgiving deal terms to allow for better decision-making power to maximize revenues.”

Ongoing challenge: “The royalty structure is convoluted and outdated,” Boyarski says. “The market share payment system — versus a system of paying artists an actual portion of subscriber fees based on music use — has been an interesting issue and will continue to be debated.”

MUSIC

Leader, Manatt Entertainment

Partner, Manatt Entertainment

Partner, Manatt Entertainment

Partner, Manatt Entertainment

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Two of the firm’s biggest 2022 deals are tied to Kobalt. Manatt represented Dundee Partners’ $1.1 billion acquisition of Kobalt Capital Ltd.’s music rights portfolio, KMR Music Royalties II. Dundee and global investor KKR formed joint-venture Chord Music Partners, which stewards the portfolio’s 62,000 recordings. Bromley’s team also represented Francisco Partners Management when the investment firm took a majority stake in Kobalt Music. Other key moments include guiding catalog sales to BMG for the estate of blues icon John Lee Hooker and for British rocker Peter Frampton and metaverse developer Melon’s launch of a National Football League-licensed Roblox experience, NFL Tycoon.

Brave new world: “Artificial intelligence is creating excitement and unlocking more ways for artists to innovate, but it also brings threats to the creator economy,” says Bromley. “It begs the question of how we can create an ecosystem that harnesses the benefits of A.I. and related technology without jeopardizing the careers of music artists and other creators. The industry must collectively advocate to ensure artists that their original music and content are protected.”

MUSIC

Founder, Principal

The Davis Firm

Davis is known for his creative dealmaking. On behalf of a multiplatinum rapper who cannot be disclosed, he helped pioneer a secured debt transaction instead of a catalog sale. Similarly, the man who handled contracts for such key executives as Kobalt COO Jeanette Perez and Warner Chappell president Ryan Press, enabled a superstar producer to monetize catalogs without selling them.

Fresh opportunity: “The influx of private equity into the creators’ side of the financial equation is finally allowing us to protect them in the most meaningful way since I began practicing 24 years ago,” Davis says. “With billions of dollars flowing in for catalog sales and debt securitization through novel and creative ways, the next decade will likely be the most financially fruitful in the history of the music business for producers, songwriters and artists.”

MUSIC

Partner, Member, Executive Committee & Co-Chair, Music Litigation Practice

Partner, Co-chair, Media + Entertainment Group

Partner, Co-Chair, Copyright & Music Practice Groups

Partner, Co-Chair, Music Litigation Practice

Pryor Cashman

Two significant rulings last summer from the Copyright Royalty Board — to uphold the royalty rate increase from 10.5% to 15.1% for streaming services in the 2018-2022 term, and settlement on a 15.35% rate for the 2023-2027 term — were the latest wins scored by Semel and Scibilia on behalf of music publishers and songwriters. In March, plaintiffs dropped a claim against Benny Blanco, Halsey, Khalid, Ed Sheeran and others over the 2018 hit “Eastside,” bolstering Farkas’ track record in copyright infringement cases while Sammataro represents the estate of Chris Cornell in a dispute with Soundgarden and Chris Brown in a claim against Brown’s song “Pills & Automobiles.”

Bustling: “2022 was a busy year for Pryor Cashman’s music and entertainment practices,” says Farkas. Wins ranged “from successfully representing a significant number of artists, labels and publishers in music copyright disputes, to securing a historic win for songwriters and music publishers in the Copyright Royalty Board proceedings, to defending creators and streaming services against attacks on their First Amendment rights to creative freedom.”

MUSIC

Partner

Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light

Greenspan was a Duke undergrad in 1971 when he promoted his first Grateful Dead show, a relationship that continues to flourish as he represents Dead & Company. Given that role, Greenspan’s longtime partner Jeff Light ran point on extending the licensing agreement between Grateful Dead Prods. and Rhino Records. The firm has been involved in some notable nine-figure catalog sales, most recently Rosenberg’s work with Justin Bieber. Rosenberg also represented LVRN (Love Renaissance) when they sold a stake in their company to Matt Pincus’ Music, his joint venture with investment banking player LionTree.

Limited real estate: Although most catalogs will not generate the multiples they once did due to rising interest rates, Greenspan notes that “A-level catalogs are the exception because there are only so many, just like there are only so many places in Manhattan on the 20th floor with a view of Central Park.”

MUSIC

Partners

Ziffren Brittenham

Beyoncé’s activities this past year, from Tiffany ambassadorship to the release of “Renaissance” and her performance at Atlantis Dubai’s grand opening, were handled by Lande, who also negotiated the estimated $100 million sale of Justin Timberlake’s catalog to Hipgnosis, Olivia Rodrigo’s sold-out global tour, BTS/HYBE’s Live Nation stadium concerts, plus Coldplay’s collaboration on the chart-topping “My Universe” and Rosalía’s “Motomami” tour. Byrne handled Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment deal extensions for Halle and Chloe Bailey. He also negotiated continuation deals for Kelly Clarkson for her show and home furniture line, and Blake Shelton for “The Voice” and new series “Barmadeddon.”

Time for a change: Byrnes says he’d like to see “more emphasis on artist development rather than social media followings, and clarity on the eligibility of sound recordings for copyright terminations, including pre-’72 sound recordings in the termination scheme.”

MUSIC

Founder/Owner

Managing Partner

LaPolt Law

A Valentine campaign on behalf of Cardi B and Offset at McDonald’s, touted on a Super Bowl ad, and a deal to release new songs from The Kid LAROI through Epic Games’ ultra-popular Fortnite were among LaPolt Law’s recent feats. Clients include 21 Savage, deadmau5 and Steven Tyler, but the firm’s founder remains focused on music creators’ rights, too. She is advising U.S. House of Representatives members on the Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act, which would prevent citing an artist’s rap lyrics as evidence in court cases. As well, she helped initiate a state version of that legislation in California and is working on getting one passed in New York, too.

Freedom of speech: “We need to continue to pass legislation protecting against the use of creative expressions as evidence against people in court,” says LaPolt. “Moreover, this is only happening to Black rap music artists! This practice has a chilling effect on creators’ First Amendment right to freely express themselves.”

MUSIC

Partner

Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp

Lepera is an in-demand attorney for copyright litigation with an impressive track record on infringement cases, starting with her efforts in defense of Andrew Lloyd Webber and his “Phantom of the Opera.” Lepera’s recent successes include her work on Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the district court that plaintiffs failed to prove substantial similarity as a matter of law. She is currently defending Dua Lipa and the other songwriters of “Levitating” from competing infringement claims.

Practice, practice, practice: “I studied classical piano and then jazz piano for a number of years,” Lepera says. “I think it helps me tremendously in terms of understanding the nuts and bolts when I interact with an expert.”

MUSIC

Named Partner, Head, Music Dept.

Partner

Grubman, Shire, Meiselas & Sacks

Meiselas recently watched his A-list clients Lady Gaga and the Weeknd headline stadiums and he will soon see them topline other creative ventures. Meiselas negotiated the deals for The Weeknd’s forthcoming HBO show “The Idol” as well as Gaga’s role as Harley Quinn in the “Joker” sequel. Jacobs represented Lil Nas X on his debut concert tour and in his sponsorship deals with M&Ms, Coach and Taco Bell. He also has provided counsel to Zach Bryan, Kali Uchis and RealestK.

Additional headlines: “After touring the U.S. successfully post-pandemic, now we’re seeing superstars return to the international stages,” Meiselas says. “There’s also a really nice trend with musical artists who are much more than that — they’re also film actors, producers, writers and creators.”

MUSIC

Managing Partner

Attorney

Arrington & Phillips

In the wake of a 2021 joint-venture label with Motown for prolific hip-hop star YoungBoy Never Broke Again, last year saw Phillips land a deal that moved the artist from Atlantic to the Universal Music label. Terms were not disclosed but both were multimillion-dollar pacts. He and Brooks represented Real Bos- ton Richey’s signing to Future’s Epic-associated label Freebandz and helped Bobby Shmurda’s Roc Nation/ Epic contract. Independent of the firm, they guided a joint venture for famed photographer Cam Kirk with Atlantic Records to set up Collective Gallery, a label-styled company that represents photographers.

New day: Phillips says unique terms in YoungBoy’s Motown deals are “a testimony to the fact that we are in a transformative time. It’s an era when attorneys and business affair offices can be more imaginative than ever; a time when artists are appreciated while creating a true win-win opportunity for the label, distributor and the artist.”

MUSIC

Partner-in-Charge (New York), Music Acquisitions & Financing Chair

Michelman & Robinson

Not long after the busy Poster closed Opus Music Group’s acquisition of Colombian singer/actor Maluma’s publishing catalog at the tail end of 2021, February 2022 saw him ink the sale of singer, composer and producer Mike Posner’s publishing assets to Iconoclasts. Terms for both transactions were not disclosed but each ran into eight figures. Pythagoras Music Fund’s purchase of producer rights and the publishing catalog for Danish production/songwriting team Soulshock & Karlin, and steering the sale of Massarsky Consulting to showbiz accounting and business management firm Citrin Cooperman were also among his feats.

High Tide: “My team and I are very fortunate to find ourselves at the crossroads of the music industry and the investment community, especially in a time when the level of investments into music assets shows no signs of slowing down,” Poster says.

MUSIC

Chairman, Global Entertainment & Media Practice

Shareholder, Co-Chair, Atlanta Entertainment & Media Practice

Greenberg Traurig

Rosenbloum’s deals have generated over $5 billion for the industry in the last year. Clients he represents for music transactions include Spotify, Meta Platforms, Amazon Studios and Apple Studios. He also navigates the development of new revenue streams for the Recording Academy. Rosen’s negotiations included the sale of Brad Paisley’s catalog to HarbourView Equity and Kenny Chesney’s catalog to Hipgnosis, a 2022 stadium tour, the renewal of the No Shoes Radio station on Sirius XM and the upping of Cindy Mabe to chairwoman at UMG Nashville.

Metaversing: A leader in the metaverse space, Rosenbloum says the concept “presents incredible opportunities for integration of music content. The rights issues are daunting. The industry must come together to address these issues, or there is a real risk that these opportunities will never materialize.”

MUSIC

Founding Partners

Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder

Rothenberg advised Kevin Liles on the $400 million sale of 300 Entertainment to Warner Music. He also negotiated catalog deals for Logic, Skylar Grey, Emily Warren, Digital Farm Animals and Jon Bellion, whom he moved to ASCAP in a massive deal while striking another deal to keep Charlie Puth at BMI. Binder brokered the launch of former Capitol Records chairman/CEO Jeff Vaughn’s Signal Records at Columbia Records and advised TDE Entertainment CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith on a partnership with Capitol for Doechii. Mohr was kept busy with Gunna, whose No. 1 album release coincided with his being jailed on RICO charges. Since Gunna’s release, Mohr has been breathing new life into previous agreements.

Time for a change: “Put the 360 deal out of its misery,” says Rothenberg. “It’s already in its final death throes but should be eliminated unilaterally — even in older deals. The original justification has long since disappeared.”

MUSIC

Managing Partner, Co-Head, Music Group

Partner, Co-Head, Music Group

Partner, Co-Head, Music

Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman

The music team at Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman represents some of the biz’s top talent, including Elton John, Paul Simon, Taylor Swift and Adele. Among their noteworthy deals this past year are the sale of Neil Diamond’s catalog to UMG; Pink’s “Trustfall” album and stadium tour; Adele’s Las Vegas residency; Oscar, Emmy and Grammy-winning composer Ludwig Goransson for “Turning Red” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”; the Disney+ livestream agreement of John’s farewell concert at Dodger Stadium; and Camila Cabello’s turn as judge on “The Voice,” plus her performance at the UEFA Championships. The team says it would like to see “the industry coalesce around dealing with A.I.-generated music,” and state the sheer volume of touring as challenging due to “lack of venues, personnel and transportation.”

MUSIC

Partner

Eisner

Shulman helped to facilitate the world premiere of client Jon Batiste’s “American Symphony” in September, including the rights to film in Carnegie Hall. He also represented Son Lux, who composed the Oscar-nominated score for the multi award-winning “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Tavel offered counsel to multiple artists on the process of terminating copyrights in compositions and recordings, then helped identify new opportunities. His clients include a number of top-notch producers such as Jonah Shy (Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes) and Jasper Harris (Jack Harlow, Post Malone).

Forward thinking: Shulman projects, “There’s going to come a time in the next 10 years where a lot of artists are going to get the rights back to their works. Then the balance will shift to artists’ controlling their destiny a bit more than in the past.”

MUSIC

Founding Partner

Founding Partner

Of Counsel

Carter + Woodard

The Atlanta-based firm, which came together through the merging of practices in January 2021, is moving into new offices due to the expanding volume and scope of its work. Carter’s longtime client Metro Boomin recently sold a portion of his publishing catalog to Shamrock Capital for nearly $70 million. Woodard represented Summer Walker as she released her chart-topping sophomore album, “Still Over It,” and continues to build momentum with the next phase of her performance career. They’ve also been involved with Lil Yachty and his new rock album “Let’s Start Here,” which he showcased on “Saturday Night Live.” Walker contributes television and film experience, including work for Kevin Hart’s company, Hartbeat.

Counsel for emerging artists: “There are a lot of things that artists can do without the major label machine,” Woodard notes. “Also, they should be patient and make sure that they do not sign anything without proper legal representation. Someone may present them with a document that they’ll be excited about, then we’ll have to come in later and try to fix it.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Global Co-Chair, Media, Sports & Entertainment Sector

Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment Transactions Practice

Partner Co-Chair, Entertainment Finance Practice

Senior Associate

DLA Piper

Ara and Markman represented TikTok and its parent ByteDance in October for a multiyear virtual reality content production deal, and also a partnership with Viacom/MTV and Pepsi launching an original MTV/TikTok show, “Becoming a Pop Star.” Ara, Markman and Imp advised Pfizer in October using Marvel characters for the “Pfizer Everyday Heroes” campaign. Ara repped VVIP Ventures in its February acquisition of the National Enquirer, National Examiner and Globe magazines. Sherman repped music publisher Concord in December for a $1.8 billion bond offering backed by Apollo. Sherman also worked for Concord acquiring music publishing and sound recording rights of Phil Collins, Genesis and others. Sherman was involved with three of 2022’s top 10 music deals. Other clients include Apple TV+, Audible, CAA, media entrepreneur Jeanie Buss, City National Bank, CJ Entertainment and HarbourView Equity.

Round trip: Ara notes that windows segmentation was swept aside by video streaming, but is making a comeback. “The new windowing is tiering as we’ve seen in the advent of subscription VOD, FAST and AVOD,” says Ara. Plus, there’s another level of segmentation as the content offers on each tier also varies.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

Auerbach has shown a knack for helping talent level up, closing Zach Cregger’s (“Barbarian”) multimillion-dollar deal to write and direct his second film, “Weapons,” which went to New Line after an intense bidding war. He’s also helped engineer career-changing contracts for actors Mia Goth (Ti West’s “X” horror trilogy), Corey Hawkins (“The Color Purple”), Dylan Gelula (Kristoffer Borgli’s film “Dreambird Scenario,” starring Nicolas Cage) and Eiza González (Apple TV+ series “Extrapolations”) and showrunner Tia Napolitano (CBS’ “Fire Country”).

Good luck, AI: “There is that inherent individualized value of a writer or director or actor’s voice and presence that can’t just be copied,” he says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Chair, Entertainment Transactions

Partner

Partner

Counsel

Venable

Bernstein and Jacobus rep management companies Entertainment 360 and Grandview; doc producer Boardwalk Pictures; and basketballer Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media. Bernstein also advised Black-owned Jesse Collins Entertainment receiving a minority investment in June. Ghassomian advises artists and talent, particularly in music, and high-net-worth individuals. Lately, he’s been preparing music catalogs for sale by artist/owners amid booming prices for music publishing. Jacobus repped Tyra Banks for her SMiZE & Dream ice cream brand. Specializing in entertainment/ media-led foundations and nonprofits, Kerman has repped the Archewell Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex since its inception and also served as legal counsel to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Caution: With the economy weakening, some clients “take a bird in the hand in the form of money off the table,” says Bernstein “Others invest, hoping to get two birds out of the bush.” Kerman adds that cash is now king in philanthropy. “If you do have money, you can make much more impact in existing charities and projects that have lost money from other donors,” she says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Vice Chairman, Global Entertainment & Media Practice

Greenberg Traurig

Black represented showrunner/creator Lashan Browning in the first-of-its-kind deal where a woman of color majority-owns a production company financed by a major (Paramount Global in February). The Century City-based attorney also advised Carlyle Group-funded Litmus Music buying Keith Urban’s music catalog in December; basketball’s Golden State Warriors in Hollywood projects; and toy giant Spin Master in Hollywood. Black also advised executive employment and new-venture agreements in the past year providing $110 million in guaranteed compensation.

Reality check: With Hollywood employers retrenching, Black feels that industry expectations “have to adapt to the new environment” such as cultivating back-end bonuses in lieu of fat upfront paydays. “It doesn’t cast a pall over the business, but it reframes what the current reality is,” he says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Corporate Partners

Latham & Watkins

Bruington and Johnson work ongoing corporate, investment and employment matters for Blumhouse. Bruington and Offsay repped David Ellison’s Skydance Media in finance initiatives, including a $400 million injection in October. Bruington, who is finance-focused, repped A24 Films, upsizing its credit line to $400 million a year ago. Johnson, who works the intersection of sports and entertainment, reps FIFA and U.S. Soccer for city selection by 2026 FIFA World Cup. Johnson and Offsay repped KKR-backed Mediawan investing in Brad Pitt-backed shingle Plan B in December. Offsay advised Skydance for its NFL sports-content venture in November and Carlyle Credit partnering in Litmus Music in August. West reps Tom Brady for endorsements and KKR on music catalog acquisitions. The transactional quartet is based in Century City. Other clients include incubator A-Frame Brands, social media D’Amelio Brands,MGM, Monroe Capital, Ryan Seacrest, Searchlight Capital, Shamrock Capital Advisors, Silver Lake and Spotify.

Foreign exchange: On booming cross-border acquisitions of TV production companies, Offsay says that “we anticipate the trend will continue.” Buyers now want to hook up directly to talent. Offsay adds that transactions go in every direction: U.S. outfits prowl overseas and international companies plant their flags in Hollywood.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partners

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton

The trio works for various Paramount Global units, including handling agreements for “Yellowstone” mega-producer Taylor Sheridan (“1923,” with Harrison Ford). Cervantes de Reinstein, Clark and Klein are based in Century City. They also advise Sony Pictures businesses, including the reported $350 million acquisition a year ago of unscripted producer Industrial Media. For client Fremantle last year, they worked the Angelina Jolie deal to write, direct and produce the film adaptation of “Without Blood” and separately co-produce with Showtime series “Fellow Travelers.” Other clients include content-slate financiers Ashland Hill Media Finance and separately PIPE Entertainment; eOne/ Hasbro; HCLTech as digital transformation sponsor for MetLife Stadium in September; David Glasser-led 101 Studios, Hershey’s, QVC and Paul Lee’s Wiip assembling a film slate.

Indie angles: Indies need to find niche verticals to partner with their giant content buyers, says Cervantes de Reinstein, particularly as all-rights deals upend traditional economics and library-building. Those verticals can be producing ancillary video games/virtual reality, administrating complex music, ecommerce and shepherding under-the-radar indie talent to Hollywood giants. “We’re advising our clients to get very entrepreneurial so they can find different revenue streams,” he says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Chatham has an enviable client list that includes Demi Moore, Heidi Klum, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, Langley Prods. (“Cops”), writers/ producers Luvh Rakhe (“New Girl,” “Dave”) and Nic Pizzolatto (“True Detective”), “ET” anchor Lauren Zima and Stage 29 Prods. (CBS’ “So Help Me Todd”). He recently repped Chris Harrison in the launch of his podcast “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever… With Chris Harrison” and Next Century Spirits in its partnership with Seth MacFarlane on Bear Fight American Single Malt Whiskey and he’s positioning longtime client Dr. Phil McGraw for his next move, following the end of his show’s 21-season run.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Entertainment Group

Frankfurt Kurnit

Cleary has been busy in the podcast space, negotiating a seven-figure multiyear sales pact with ad marketplace Gumball for clients Mandii B and Bridget Kelly and their show “See, the Thing Is” and deals for Warner Music Group’s new network Interval Presents, including a multiyear co-production/distribution partnership with iHeart Media. The Memphis native also harnessed her legal smarts and Southern charm to close deals for producer Charlie Alderman (Hulu series “Phony”) and comic talent Jackie Fabulous (NBC series “Jackie’s Fabulous”), and writer Felicia Pride (Sony’s “Hitch 2”).

Most troubling trend: Cleary laments “the small number of comedy pilots that have been ordered. That’s unexpected and surprising.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Associate

Del Shaw Moonves Tananka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang

Cohan and Stenson represent over 20 production companies in the nonfiction space — their goal being to protect their clients’ interests without interfering with their ability to tell stories in an entertaining way. Most notably, they represented Vox Media Studios in its first-of-a-kind deal with Netflix for the PGA documentary series “Full Swing.” Cohan and Stenson see it as their mission to help sports-focused productions strike a balance between telling stories that are genuine and fit their brands and ensuring their brands are protected and not exploited.

What a difference a day makes: “When you’re looking at production company representation on the unscripted nonfiction side, every day is different,” Cohan says. “You could be doing a documentary about surfing one day, and the next day it’s about cupcakes. So you’ve really got to know how to protect the client in a multitude of different types of programming, subject matter and buyer requirements.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Co-Founder

Co-Founder

Partner

Partner

Cohen Gardner

In the first year after launching their firm in 2002, finances were so tenuous that Cohen slept in their offices on the outskirts of Beverly Hills — a fact he kept secret from fellow co-founder Gardner. Today, the duo has a thriving practice at a better 90210 address. Garrett and Fenton became partners in 2015 and 2022, respectively. A former child actor, Cohen — one of the rare lawyers to receive a shout-out at the Oscars — played a key role in one of Hollywood’s biggest feel-good success stories of the year, setting the deals for Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan’s (who co-starred with his to-be attorney in 1985’s “The Goonies”) Oscar-winning roles in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The firm also reps Bong Joon Ho (Warner Bros.’ sci fi epic “Mickey 17,” starring Robert Pattinson) and Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”); prodcos Proximity Media (Stephen Curry doc “Underrated” sale to Apple) and Castle Rock Entertainment ($175 million relaunch of feature division); actor/ comedians Little Rel Howery (Netflix sequel “Vacation Friends”) and Ms. Pat (overall deal with BET); and author Gabrielle Zevin (bidding war for New York Times bestseller “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow”).

Bringing back the backend: “When intellectual property has an advertising component and is being licensed off the original streamer, it’s much easier to ask for profit participation,” says Cohen.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

O’Melveny & Myers

Conner is known for making big deals (e.g., Beijing-based Perfect World’s $500 million Universal slate financing), and he’s continued on pace since joining O’Melveny from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in October 2021. In recent months, he’s repped Disney/Marvel Studios in a 20-year name and likeness rights licensing deal with the estate of Stan Lee; ITV Studios America in its pact with Apple TV+ for the limited series “Franklin,” starring Michael Douglas; and the streaming service Passionflix (run by Tosca Musk, sister of Elon) in a Series A investment round led by AMC Networks.

Repairing a rocky relationship: “We are starting to see more Chinese releases of Hollywood content, but, at the end of the day, the film business can’t beat world politics when things get really frosty,” he says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Senior Partner, Head of Global Media

Senior Associate

Associate

Associate

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton

The quartet served as production counsel for the second season of Amazon Studios’ “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” for talent and special effects contracts, plus transitioning production to the U.K. from New Zealand. The Century City-based Darwell, Ohanian, Watkins and Kelly worked Amazon Studios concerts/music specials in the past year: Kendrick Lamar’s the Big Steppers Tour performing in Paris, Tyler the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost Tour show in Los Angeles and The Weeknd’s the Dawn FM Experience immersive music special. The four also advise Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) for metaverse initiatives involving celebrities, music and sponsorships, including Sean Combs’ BET Lifetime Achievement Awards party. They rep Argentine musician Paulo Londra, including his Anheuser-Busch pact for an official Spanish-language song for the 2022 World Cup. Other clients include NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, TelevisaUnivision launching its streaming service, Viacom Latin America and podcaster Wondery. Outside of his day job, Darwell made the documentary “The 90s Club,” combating ageism.

Going large: While video streamers are canceling some greenlighted productions and jettisoning midlevel original films, Darwell sees a “shift to bigger-budget movies that suggests a trend of quality and spectacle over quantity.” Previously streamers emphasized breadth/volume of content, Darwell says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Global Co-Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media Practice

Latham & Watkins

In March, Deutsch worked for Charles D. King-led Macro in raising $90 million in minority investments from several institutional heavy-hitters like BlackRock Alternatives. The Century City-based attorney also administers Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures (“Top Gun: Maverick”) for its multipicture co-finance and distribution pact with Paramount, and Content Partners for ongoing library/participations acquisitions. Other clients include Anonymous Content, City Hill Arts, Jon Favreau/Golem Creations, Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment, Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories, Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media and Stampede Entertainment.

Still percolating: Though the economic slowdown fuels overall pessimism, Deutsch says overseas strategic players and institutions still invest in Hollywood: “Companies that can shape culture with their content or brands and cut through all the noise remain highly attractive.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Chair, Entertainment Practice

Co-Chair, Corporate, Capital Markets & Sports Practice

Chair, Entertainment Finance Practice

Loeb & Loeb

Loeb & Loeb has a transactional entertainment practice befitting the 124-year-old firm’s impressive size and reputation. In recent months, Edel handled deals for Alcon Entertainment (Amazon’s “Blade Runner 2099” sequel; animated “Garfield” feature), video game maker Nexon Studios ($400 million minority investment in Anthony & Joe Russo’s AGBO) and numerous other content and game producers, including Studio 8, Black Label Media, Google/YouTube, BuzzFeed, Nintendo, Games Workshop and Valve Corp. Khalili’s deals include repping Vin Di Bona Prods. (“America’s Funniest Home Videos”) and its studio FishBowl WorldWide Media in their majority stake sale to an investor group led by Clarion Capital Partners; NBA star Chet Holmgren in several endorsement deals; and Annapurna Pictures and Annapurna Games in various matters. Swanson advises Non-Fungible Films in its corporate restructuring and agreements related to NFTs and their exploitation in film and TV projects, as well as numerous entities (including MUFG Bank, Cast & Crew Financial Services, Aperture Media Partners, City National Bank and Comerica Bank) on their term loan credit facilities.

Playing for keeps: “With every iteration of a game, you have this incredible relationship with your consumers that continues to pay dividends, whereas for a film or television series, it’s much more limited,” says Edel.

TRANSACTIONAL

Chair, Entertainment Transactions

Chair, Music & Digital Media

Partner

Partner

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

This quartet possesses vast experience across all areas of entertainment law. In March, Epstein closed a “doozy” of a deal when representing Ryan Reynolds in T-Mobile’s reported $1.35 billion acquisition of low-cost carrier Mint Mobile. Reynolds purchased an ownership stake in Mint in 2019. Epstein also advised Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment in Mediawan’s acquisition of a significant stake in Plan B. Fohrman’s expertise in tech, music and new media spans from advising BMG Rights Management on cata- log acquisitions to negotiating deals and agreements for virtual reality music company AmazeVR. Baxter advised producer Chris Coelen in selling an interest in Kinetic Content to North Road. Hurdle recently represented Venture 10 Studio Group principals John Stevens and Hans Schiff in rolling the Group into the newly formed V10 Entertainment.

On the horizon: “It’s hard to predict what the year is going to look like until the WGA disputes get resolved,” Epstein says, “but one of the things I’m expecting is, despite the strong economic headwinds and the increase in interest rates, we’ll continue to see strong interest in premium content creators across all genres. The power of premium content is prevalent and is surviving the downturn … It’s probably even more powerful today than ever because of the increasing volume of content being consumed.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partners

Greenberg Glusker

The clients repped by the Greenberg Glusker team includes some of the biggest names in movies and television, in front of and behind the camera. Galsor’s stable includes actors Tom Cruise, Chris Hemsworth and Vin Diesel, directors James Cameron, David Fincher and Anthony & Joe Russo, Ubisoft Entertainment and the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. James specializes in corporate financing, including HighPost Capital’s acquisition of Hemsworth’s fitness app Centr and its reorganization with Inspire Fitness. She’s also handled numerous deals for actors Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Netflix’s “Our Man from Jersey” and Showtime’s “King Shaka”) and Alice Braga (co-starring role “Hypnotic”) and smartphone video subscription service Scribr. Muir reps producer Marc Evans (“The Old Guard 2” and “The Mother” for Netflix), producer Dan Farah (“Ready Player One” sequel) and author Ernie Cline, and works alongside Galsor on Cruise- and Hemsworth-related matters. Moore crafts deals for media companies including Cross Creek Pictures (sale of animated film “Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie” to Netflix) and Gravitas Ventures (sale to Anthem Media).

The two-minute AI script polish: “It may come one day, and if it can give you something usable that you can start with, the power of that would be so overwhelming that no contract, no guild agreement will stop people from doing it,” says Galsor.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Partner

Partner

Counsel

Sidley Austin

The quartet provides ongoing advice to Eldridge Industries for its acquisition of the Golden Globes, and to AT&T in carriage deals for Warner Bros. Discovery streamers. Geffner works entertainment/sports; Weiss, licensing; Zipperstein founder-led initiatives and beauty products frequently in entertainment; and Whiting entertainment/sports. The four transactional attorneys further rep Live Nation for ongoing joint ventures/acquisitions, and separately three music companies making acquisitions in the high-nine figures. They advise Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and their Seven Bucks Companies, including licensing XFL’s media rights to Disney in May. In sports, clients include Jeff Skoll for his November minority investment in Washington, D.C.’s Monumental Sports & Entertainment; a lender providing eight-figure financing in May to a Formula 1 event; and women’s soccer Kansas City Current, including its $117 million stadium project. Other clients include Arctos Sports Partners, podcaster Audio Up in a financing round, soccer’s CONCACAF, Hasbro and Spyglass Media.

Circling back: With merger-mania ebbing, Whiting expects that companies that aimed for M&As will instead return to debt financing as they go it alone. They will “start going back to the financing market and be really deliberate and thoughtful about how to build robust, meaningful partnerships,” Whiting says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Named Partner

Named Partner

Named Partner

Partner

Yorn Levine Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner Endlich & Gellman

The Yorn Levine team’s practice encompasses top creators, film and TV talent, recording artists and athletes. Gellman’s clients include top-grossing stand-up comic Sebastian Maniscalco, for whom he negotiated deals with Lionsgate to co-write and star alongside Robert De Niro in the film “About My Father” and with HBO Max to be the lead in the series “How to Be a Bookie,” scripted by Chuck Lorre. Krintzman closed an overall deal for showrunner Dan Levy with Netflix that covers “Good Grief,” a feature Levy starred in, directed, wrote and produced, and a pact with HBO Max for the unscripted show “Big Brunch,” which Levy created and hosted. Endlich closed an overall feature pact with Universal for clients Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (aka “The Daniels”), who won a trio of Oscars for writing, directing and producing “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Goodell recently closed deals for Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (co-writer of “Thor: Love and Thunder”) to direct a reboot of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and write a yet-to-be-announced tentpole film for Disney.

Potential strike stress and strategic choices: “A client may choose one opportunity over another or take it up to now as opposed to waiting for perhaps another one that might come in a little time,” says Gellman.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Partner

Partner

Gendler & Kelly

Gendler, Kelly and Cunningham repped Meryl Streep for Disney-produced “Only Murders in the Building” and also a new overall Disney deal in May for exec producer John Hoffman of the same show that he co-created. The trio also advised Shonda Rhimes and her Shondaland company for Netflix series “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.” Other clients include David E. Kelley for the “Presumed Innocent” limited series for Apple TV+; and Chris Pine for his directorial debut, producing and co-writing heist film “Poolman”; and separately acting for “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” at Paramount Pictures.

Eyes on the horizon: Cunningham says that fast-paced changes in the media landscape require future-proofing deals. In transactions with studios and producers, content can land at traditional media or streamers, she says, adding that advertising-support tiers are a new wrinkle within the streamer silo. That is a big fork in the road when streamers order just six to 10 episodes a season versus 22 segments, which is the norm for legacy platforms. “I don’t know if we’re in a period of flux or this is the new normal,” Cunningham says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partners

Ginsburg Daniels Kallis

The fruits of Ginsburg and Kallis’ dealmaking were in the news as clients Timothée Chalamet traversed the globe shooting “Wonka” and sequel “Dune: Part 2” for Warner Bros., and writer/director J.D. Dillard garnered acclaim for Sony’s “Devotion,” about the U.S. Navy’s first Black fighter pilot. The duo’s work also made headlines via client deals for Oscar-nominated actor LaKeith Stanfield (Legendary’s biblical epic “Book of Clarence”), Clea DuVall (as creator/EP of series “Housebroken” and “High School” and a cast member of “Poker Face”) and “House of the Dragon” writer/EP Sara Hess in a new overall deal with HBO.

Aftermath of streaming war retreat: “Today’s production decisions were made, in many cases, quite a while ago, but studios are going to be more selective going forward,” says Ginsburg. “Backends are hard to envision under today’s streaming models unless/until the content starts to migrate outside their walled gardens on any reasonable timetable.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Partner

Partner

Associate

Weintraub Tobin

The Weintraub Tobin team has established itself as a key player in the podcast space, establishing new deal frameworks and industry standards. Gordon cut a first-of-its-kind licensing deal for Guy Raz with NPR and Wondery/Amazon for the podcast “How I Built This,” a podcast-to-television deal for Melissa Moore’s “Happy Face” with CBS and a podcast-to-film deal for Sonoro’s “Toxicomanía” with Paramount. He also reps numerous other podcast creators and producers, including Alex Goldman (“Reply All”), At Will Media (“Wild Things”), Treefort Media (“Killer Psyche”), Tiffany Reese (“Something Was Wrong”), Western Sound (“Lost Hills”), Denzel Dion (“We Said What We Said”) and Matthew Derby (“Sandra”). Marlow’s clients include podcasters Claudia and Jackie Oshry (“The Toast”) and Remi Cruz, whose show “Pretty Basic” spawned a live tour and a cosmetics collaboration with Tarte. Sattler has been advising on the launch of multi-platform mental health-oriented Wondermind and Sugar23. Lincenberg focuses on repping podcast on-air talent, including host/creator Eileen Kelly (“Going Mental,” produced by Dear Media) and Jessica Ambrose (former co-host of “Chatty Broads”). She and Marlow rep Danielle Carolan and Brooke Miccio, hosts of “Gals on the Go,” produced by PodcastOne.

Making podcasts more discoverable: “If the Spotifys, the YouTubes and the Apples of the world can crack that algorithm, then I think you’ll see a really exciting period for podcasts,” says Gordon.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Partner

Partner

Partner, Chair, New Media Group

Granderson Des Rochers

Granderson Des Rochers’ practice spans everything from movies to smart rowing machines. Granderson cut big deals for his stable of music clients, including Nicky Minaj’s pact to bring her show “Queen Radio” to Amazon’s Amp app and J. Balvin’s endorsements of Brand Jordan and Tiffany & Co., as well as the confidential sale of several recording and publishing catalogs. Des Rochers has helped guide the career of Zendaya, setting her to star in and produce the MGM drama “Challengers,” and inked deals for directors Reinaldo Marcus Green (Paramount’s Bob Marley biopic) and Blitz Bazawule (musical film adaptation of “The Color Purple”) and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” producer Jonathan Wang’s overall pact with Universal. Moody advises clients in the tech space on music rights issues, including gaming company Roblox, virtual concert start-up Wave XR and numerous exercise platforms, including Hydrow, Liteboxer and FitXR. Sandler is a force in the comedy world, cutting deals for clients including Pete Davidson (Peacock series “Bupkis”) and Phoebe Robinson (extension of overall with ABC Signature). Most recently, the firm represented Quality Control in the label’s $300 million acquisition deal with HYBE, helping to usher the K-pop heavyweight into the hip-hop market.

Show us the data, streamers: “It feels disingenuous for them to get on the phone with talent reps and argue that they shouldn’t participate in any success because they’re not going to share information regarding success,” says Des Rochers.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks

Grant repped Lady Gaga starring in Warner’s upcoming sequel “Joker: Folie à Deux.” He also worked Ana de Armas’ deals for movies “Ghosted” that wrapped at Apple TV+ in May and “Ballerina” for Lionsgate in October. Grant also advises Robert De Niro, including for “Wise Guys” at Warner Bros. in August. Additionally, he reps ex-HBO topper Richard Plepler/Eden Prods., including with Apple TV+ for a Benjamin Franklin bio-series starring Michael Douglas; and also advises David Letterman/Worldwide Pants. Stacking gigs: With limited TV series in vogue, Grant notes that means fewer hit-the-jackpot jobs on series that provide steady work and pay raises. As a result, Grant negotiates narrower talent exclusivity in talent employment contracts “so clients can take on multiple jobs.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Partner

Counsel

Counsel

Nixon Peabody

Last year Nixon Peabody’s entertainment team — who are all women — generated an aggregate value of over $500 million by negotiating fiercely on behalf of roughly 100 clients. Chang and Heisler are entertainment attorneys, while Mitchell and Usmani focus primarily on the music business; the four collaborate frequently for multihyphenate clients. Heisler calls the value of model-actress Emily Ratajkowski’s podcast deal — “High Low With EmRata” — “significant,” but more importantly, it extends her client’s voice well beyond a previous book deal. Building longevity for clients’ careers is paramount, as evidenced by Mitchell’s efforts for longtime client, recording artist Brent Faiyaz. Usmani represented Outback in securing the rights to produce and promote Puerto Rican chart-topper Rauw Alejandro’s 2023 world tour. For the 360 Agency, Chang negotiated and drafted all talent and vendor agreements for AT&T’s “Dream in Black” campaigns and master service agreements for campaigns and initiatives for the Environmental Defense Fund and Ready Finance.

EQ power: Focusing on emotional intelligence, also termed emotional quotient, Heisler says being a young woman who’s had to work hard to succeed is an asset. Personally, “it comes from being a woman as well as a first-generation American. There’s a work ethic we have because nothing was given to us or guaranteed.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Chair, Century City office

Partner, Co-Chair, Global Entertainment & Media Finance

Partner, Co-Chair, Global Entertainment & Media Finance

Partner, Entertainment & Media

Partner, Entertainment & Media

Paul Hastings

Hernand advised private equity Clarion Capital purchasing Vin Di Bona Prods. (“America’s Funniest Home Videos”) in January. Hernand and Monroe repped Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery selling 75% of the CW Network in August. For production company Indian Paintbrush, Mayerson worked a distribution deal for Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” to Focus Features in June. Mayerson also advised Nashville-based film/television producer PZAJ in a first-look deal with 101 Studios in June. Williams advised Black Bear Pictures launching its international distribution and sales operations in May, and also financier 777 Partners providing funds to Najafi Companies for its purchase of STX Entertainment in April 2022. Monroe advised metaverse/new media financier Game Fund Partners Group investing in Discord in January. Other clients of the Century City-based attorneys include Fox Corp., Paramount Global, Warner Bros. Discovery and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook. Emanuel, another major player in Paul Hastings’ transactional team, is Variety’s 2023 Power of Law Honoree. Emanuel’s heady client roster includes uber-showrunner Ryan Murphy, Tom Hanks and his production company Playtone, Robert Rodriguez, MSG Entertainment, Tony Gilroy, Mandalay Pictures and Cirque du Soleil. Variety is honoring him for his distinguished career and his philanthropic endeavors, which include the Faith & Politics Institute and the March on Washington Film Festival.

Show me the money: With streamers moving away from growth at any cost, Hernand expects to see an embrace of slate financing partnerships to keep up content output while also helping reach increasingly urgent profitability ambitions. “We expect that studios will start to look to lay off content financing risk to third parties,” Hernand says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Co-Chair, Media + Entertainment Practice

Partner, Co-Chair, Media + Entertainment Practice

Pryor Cashman

Hill and Pulman, based in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively, joined Pryor Cashman from Cowan DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard in February to lead the firm’s media and entertainment practice with James Janowitz. In recent months, they’ve jointly negotiated deals for the production companies Sister (including deals to for a TV adaptation of Alaina Urquhart’s book “The Butcher & The Wren” with Jennifer Yale as showrunner, and an upcoming 9/11 series written by Tobias Lindholm and starring Jeremy Strong) and Blumhouse (acquisitions of Sundance hit “Nanny” and novella “Blind Spot” for a streaming feature adaptation for its Amazon output deal). Additionally, they handled business and legal affairs for prodcos Wiip and 88 Rising, and numerous videogame film and TV adaptations, including DJ2’s (“Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Tomb Raider”) first look deal with Amazon.

Everything always flux all at once: “It just depends on whether things are in a faster cycle, a slower cycle and how much awareness people have of what’s happening,” says Hill.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media Practice Group

Partner

Partner

Partner

Barnes & Thornburg

Karlov reps the NFL as well as NFL Network in entertainment matters, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty and Ionic Recordings. He works music, television, film, live events, advertising, licensing and technology industries. Hunt advises City National Bank, Hercules Films, Highland Films and Lionsgate Entertainment. She is focused on media finance and entertainment transactions, including capital raisings, slate financing, credit lines, foreign incentive benefits and co-productions. Thompson’s clients include feature-length documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down”; Lisa Erspamer/Erspamer Prods.; Peyton Manning and Omaha Prods., including its sports TV program and podcasting deals; and TV One for development, production and distribution matters. Working labor and employment matters, Witlin advises a group of independent theatrical film producers negotiating the Low Budget Theatrical Agreement with the IATSE union. Other Witlin clients include Sony Interactive Entertainment, the Los Angeles Lakers and content company Keshet Intl. The quartet is based in Century City.

Pushing the boundaries: Karlov notes that the music industry thrives on risk taking. “That’s always been the case, but it’s now on steroids” because of the digital revolution, Karlov says. “In so doing, the music business also pushes the limits of the law.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Named Partner

Yorn Levine Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner Endlich & Gellman

Levine signed “Squid Game” creator, writer-director and exec producer Hwang Dong-hyuk and exec producer Kim Ji-yeon last year and negotiated a nine-figure deal (with partners Kevin Yorn and Gregg Gellman) for the duo to produce additional seasons of the show for Netflix. He’s also closed a nine-figure pact with Warner Bros. Television for “Ted Lasso” co-creator Bill Lawrence, handled matters for Stephen Curry and Erick Peyton’s Unanimous Media, and inked contract extensions for Colin Jost at “Saturday Night Live” and for his overall TV development deal at Universal.

Fighting studio exclusivity clauses: “You’re doing shows that are six to eight episodes with longer hiatuses, so you don’t want to be stuck where you can’t be a series regular on another show unless you have the studio’s permission.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

LeVine uses creative problem solving to get the best possible deals for clients, including Oscar-winners Octavia Spencer (first-look scripted pact for her production outfit Orit Entertainment with Skydance TV) and Ariana DeBose (“House of Spoils”). In recent months, he’s also set roles for Mike Faist (the tennis drama “Challengers”), William Jackson Harper (“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”), Jacob Tremblay (“Cold Copy,” “Skeleton Tree,” “Queen of Bones”) and Fred Hechinger (“Hell of a Summer,” “Kraven the Hunter,” “The Nickel Boys,” “Thelma”).

Potential for strikes: “I’m optimistic that both sides will look at the economic climate and come to a compromise soon, but I’m also a realist and I fear the same issues could cause them to become more entrenched,” LeVine says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark

Lichter’s status as an accomplished four-and-a-half-decade veteran gives her special privileges, like the opportunity to renegotiate the renewal of the domestic copyright for screenwriters of a major studio franchise that she first sold as a spec script for the pair back in the mid ‘80s. It also enabled her to cut big deals for a long list of high-profile clients, including directors Marc Forster (set to helm Disney’s “The Graveyard Book”); Chloé Zhao (Oscar-winner for “Nomadland”); and DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter (upcoming Netflix limited series “Zero Day,” starring Robert De Niro).

Anxious times: “One of the reasons I wanted to be in the business is that it changed so fast, so there was always something new to learn, but I feel like we’re heading into an area of conflict,” she says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Attorney at Law

Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & Fox

Having negotiated screenwriting team J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay’s groundbreaking deal as showrunners for Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” despite their thin experience in television, Littman successfully re-negotiated their Season 2 contract before the first season had even premiered. He also negotiated Christopher Columbus’ first television overall deal (with Disney Television), and recently struck seven-figure-plus deals for creators and producers Akiva Goldsman, Shannon Burke, Mimi Leder, Abe Forsythe, and Craig Pearce.

Labor of love: “There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes with working with young talent and people work- ing their way up,” he says. “You really have to push, but they’re the ones who need protection. They’re the ones who need someone advocating to move them up, financially and legally, and help them get to that place in their life.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Co-Chair, Sports Industry Group, Co-Chair, Antitrust Litigation Practice Group

Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry Group, Co-Chair, Music Industry Group

Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry Group

Special Counsel

Covington & Burling

Ludwin advised Discovery on global regulatory issues in acquiring Warner Media in April 2022; and Ludwin and Hill repped the NFL for its for Google/YouTube rights pact in December. Perry repped Universal Music for various NFT deals; and he advised A+E Networks in its Range Media Partners deal a year ago. Polashuk repped Disney and ESPN Media Networks in their complex DISH Network/ Sling carriage deal in November. Hill advised Major League Soccer for its global 10-year Apple deal in June; MLS again in December for its four-year Fox and Univision U.S. TV agreements and TSN for Canada; and the Los Angeles Clippers launching direct-to-consumer ClipperVision. Ludwin is based in Washington, D.C.; Perry and Hill are in New York; and Polashuk is in Century City.

Media maze: Polashuk expects bundling and packaging innovations as digital media mushrooms; for example, video-streamed sports join the mix. Bundles will be “based on people’s interests,” Polashuk says. “I think that there are a lot of options now but they are hard to navigate.” To corral consumers, Perry says that digital media platforms will introduce new wrinkles like “gamified ancillary content and metaverse activities to keep people in the same ecosystem. It’s getting competitive for eyeballs.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Co-Chair, Media, Entertainment & Technology Practice Group

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Masuda advised NFL football investing in Skydance Sports as a multi-sport production studio in November, and separately commentor Rachel Maddow in creating her production company with its Amblin Entertainment movie deal. The Los Angeles-based attorney also repped Klutch Athletics in its strategic partnership with New Balance, and an affiliate of SNB Capital in July buying a minority stake in the Russo brothers’ shingle AGBO. Other clients include LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment and Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company.

Unconventional: Masuda marvels that the digital revolution constantly upends industry norms. For example, rigid running times have become lax. “Now I have clients with shows that are just 15 minute long,” he says. Masuda believes that upheaval affords more creative control.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Founding Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Dept.

Fox Rothschild

Miller repped Angela Bassett in April to star in Netflix film “Damsel” as well as Bassett Vance Prods., the company Bassett runs with her husband, Courtney B. Vance, in re-upping at Viacom Studios/CBS, whose MTV Studios greenlit the shingle’s “Heist 88.” Other clients include Da’Vine Joy Randolph for HBO series “The Idol” and Lionsgate film “Shadow Force”; Taylor Tomlinson for high-rated “Look at You” Netflix comedy special; and Reginald Hudlin directing Eddie Murphy in Amazon’s “Candy Cane Lane.”

Futureproofing: With the media landscape quickly shifting, Miller feels that dealmaking needs to anticipate what’s around the corner. “The most successful artists and brands of today can’t just talk about what I call the immediate deal, but also how that immediate deal needs to drive multiple revenue streams,” he says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Chair, West Coast Private Clients Group

Partner

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Mulrooney and Wunderli have worked together for 15 years, providing confidential personal legal services to high-wealth clients, many of whom are in the entertainment industry. Their work spans life events from birth to death, including taxes, marriage/co-habitation agreements and dissolutions, estate planning, probate, philanthropy and more. In the past year, that’s involved collaborating with their counterparts in the U.K., Europe, China and Canada. Discretion and privacy are paramount. Mulrooney and Wunderli never name their clients, though it is well known in the entertainment community that they rep many of the A-listers.

Taxing concerns: Proposed wealth taxes aren’t the only thing worrying clients. “Our current estate and gift tax exemptions are scheduled to basically be cut in half in 2026,” Wunderli says. “What’s on the minds of our clients is how can they use their existing estate and gift tax exemption before it sunsets. People with wealth are thinking, ‘What planning can I do in the next two years to maximize what I can pass on to my family, and charitable giving as well?’”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Entertainment Group

Partner, Entertainment Group

Partner, Entertainment Group

Counsel, Entertainment Group

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz

The quartet of Murray, Cook, Georges and Gordon leads the nonfiction group at Frankfurt Kurnit, which did over $100 million in deals in 2022 and advised on over 500 hours of content. Cook’s clients include Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan and their production shingle Story Syndicate, producers of the Netflix docuseries “Harry and Meghan,” which amassed more than 1.69 billion minutes of viewing time in its first week alone, and Andrew Rossi, director and producer of Netflix docuseries “The Andy Warhol Diaries.” Georges provided legal counsel, content review and vetting on the latter show and does ongoing work on Apple TV+’s “The Problem With Jon Stewart” and Discovery ID’s “On the Case With Paula Zahn.” Murray repped prodco MakeMake on director Elvis Mitchell’s Netflix doc “Is That Black Enough for You?” and Jupiter Entertainment on the Discovery ID series “In Pursuit With John Walsh,” while Gordon handled legal counsel and vetting. Other recent projects include Netflix’s “White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch” (Cook/Georges), “Somebody Feed Phil” (Murray/Georges), “Descendant” (Cook) and Heidi Ewing’s Sony feature “I Carry You With Me.”

Additional distribution windows staying shut in doc space: “Nine times out of 10, the buyers still want full 100% global rights,” says Murray.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

DLA Piper

A Hollywood finance specialist, Petretti advised City National Bank on various music transactions. He also repped JPMorgan in financings for multiple theatrical and streaming projects, and Truist Bank, including amending a credit agreement. He supports various mergers and acquisitions transactions working financing matters, such as intercreditor issues. Petretti joined in December from another law firm.

Fuzzy line: Noting that the copyright office said it won’t register artificial intelligence-created content, Petretti muses about potential uncertainty. “At what point does the AI go beyond being merely a tool to actually being the creator of a work, so as to render content ineligible for protection under current copyright law?” he says. The distinction might be particularly blurry in tech-heavy animation content.

TRANSACTIONAL

Named Partner

3B Law (Bruns Brennan Berry Pikulin & Jacobs)

Pikulin is a top production attorney, advising on everything from financing structure and the offers and deals for cast, directors and producers to distribution and delivery. Feature clients include Fifth Season (“80 for Brady,” “Book Club 2,” “The Lost Daughter,” “Proxy”), A24 (“When You Finish Saving the World,” “I Saw the TV Glow”), Bron Studios (“National Anthem,” “Monkey Man”), Department of Motion Pictures (“O’Dessa”) and Stay Gold Features (“Nanny”). On the television side, he’s handled production legal for Jax Media (“The Conners,” “South Side,” “Russian Doll”), Irony Point (“That Damn Michael Che”) and Broadway Video (“Documentary Now”).

Bad times won’t stop the financing: “People want to see their names in the credits, so I feel like that money is always there,” says Pikulin.

TRANSACTIONAL

Managing Partner

Partner

Partner

Ramo Law

Ramo founded the firm as a solo practitioner in 2005 and has expanded it to 25 attorneys, 14 of whom are women, including four of its six partners. Ramo handles business affairs for prolific, high-profile content producers, including Imagine Entertainment (podcast slate deal with iHeart Media), Hello Sunshine (Amazon feature “Something From Tiffany’s,” directed by Daryl Wein and starring Zoey Deutsch), Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud and HartBeat Prods. (SiriusXM multiplatform deal; Apple TV+ doc “Number One on the Call Sheet”) and Yale Entertainment. Chang works the unscripted space, advising such production companies as Boardwalk Pictures (“Chef ’s Table,” “We Need to Talk About Cosby”), Campfire Studios (“WeWork,” “Rudy! A Documusical”) and Scout Prods. (“Queer Eye”). Canchola specializes in TV, serving as outside production counsel for Skydance Television (“Reacher,” “Foundation”), 20th Television, Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” as well as such features as “A Man Called Otto,” starring Tom Hanks, “Sanctuary,” starring Christopher Abbott and Margaret Qualley, and Netflix’s upcoming “FUBAR,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Slowdown for streamers and podcasts: “People are figuring out where the dust is going to settle, where the new or merged buyers are going to come from and what they’re going to be interested in buying,” says Ramo.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Co-Chair, Media, Entertainment & Technology Practice Group

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Ross reps the Azoff Company, royalties-collector Global Music Rights and Oak View Group sports/concert venues outfit that is aligned with music mogul Irving Azoff. The Los Angeles-based attorney also advises Blackstone-financed Candle Media in acquisitions including its $150 million buy of digital media communicator ATTN: in July. Ross clients also include Universal Pictures, Shaquille O’Neal and SaveLive, which raised $135 million to support small-capacity live venues.

Getting creative: With debt and capital markets in retreat, Ross says that Hollywood needs to conjure creative financing to keep content output humming along. “The producers and content creators are going to need to stretch their dollars” with back-end bonuses for talent if there’s a lid on front-end pay and shrewd off-balance-sheet financings, he says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Co-Founder, Partner

Partner

Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang

Part of Shaw and Lezcano’s ongoing mission is to make the entertainment industry more progressive and inclusive so it more accurately reflects the real world. One way they do that is through transactional law. While the firm’s clients range from high-profile individuals including Ava DuVernay, Lawrence Fishburne and Nick Cannon to organizations like the NFL and Major League Soccer, they ensure their entire team seeks out opportunities for clients, especially those from BIPOC, Latinx, LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented communities. Shaw counts working on “The Woman King”—and standing with its director Gina Prince-Bythewood as she advocated for the recognition of excellence regardless of where it originates—a career highlight. Lezcano and Shaw are true collaborators with complementary skill sets who trust each other’s instincts and genuinely like each other, which they believe helps them get the best results for their clients.

A(bel) To Z(orro): About working on a Spanish-language version of “Zorro” for Amazon, Lezcano says: “It’s provided me the opportunity to really understand the value and benefits of the international co-production model for the streaming age, which will be to the benefit of all our clients.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Head, New Media, Motion Picture & Sports

Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks

Shire reps LeBron James and his SpringHill Company inking a Sony PlayStation deal and Beats headphones commercials. The New York-based attorney also handles Spike Lee, including for upcoming ESPN doc “Da Saga of Colin Kaepernick.” Shire also reps Robert De Niro starring in Netflix series “Zero Day.” Other clients include Latin music star J Balvin; Drake; CNN chief Chris Licht for his employment contract; Martha Stewart; football’s New England Patriots; Andrew Lloyd Webber; and podcasting for iHeart, Sony Music and Spotify. Absorption: Shire advises aspiring entertainment attorneys to work in-office to absorb from senior lawyers and make personal contacts. “How else do you learn how to negotiate unless you listen to someone who has done it for years?” Shire says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media Group

Partner, Co-Chair, MediaTech Group

Partner

Partner

O’Melveny & Myers’ bicoastal entertainment transactional law team continues to impact the global media landscape, bolstered by new arrival Syrkin, who joined the firm’s New York office in September as co-chair of its MediaTech practice. In recent months, they’ve served as the outside counsel for the launch of streaming service SkyShowtime, a Comcast-Paramount Global joint venture, in 22 European countries (Syrkin); advised global streaming platform Starz on the sale of a 57% majority stake in Starzplay Arabia to an Abu Dhabi-based consortium led by E-Vision and ADQ (Tobey and Vannini); repped SVOD platform FuboTV in an exclusive multiyear first-look deal with Ryan Reynolds’ company Maximum Effort Prods. for unscripted content (Siegel); Australian animation studio Animal Logic in its pending acquisition by Netflix (Vannini); Warner Bros./DC Entertainment in the release of Batman-based NFT collections via Palm NFT Studio (Siegel); and Disney/ Marvel Studios in a 20-year name and likeness rights licensing deal with the estate of Stan Lee (Siegel). In a major shift, as of March 27, Tobey left the firm to start a new role as exec VP and general counsel of Lionsgate.

Ukraine fallout? “I have not seen a direct impact yet in terms of the deal flow or the anticipated pipeline, but if you were to ask me what concerns me about the future, I would definitely say the economic uncertainty and global tensions in general,” says Vannini.

TRANSACTIONAL

Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Practice

Fox Rothschild

New York-based Simon repped Joe Pesci’s first episodic streaming starring role with Peacock’s “Bupkis” in October. Simon advises Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy attached as director for a new “Star Wars” film; she’s also attached to Paramount’s supernatural yarn “Brilliance.” Other clients include the Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Prods.; Oscar-winner Joseph Patel’s overall deal in January with Disney platform Onyx Collective; and iDeal Partners, Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen and Sharon Chang for their Sundance audience documentary winner “Beyond Utopia.”

Bonus time: Simon feels creative talent and rights-holders merit contingent compensation from digital streamers, which substituted upfront “buyouts that were only for a select few and in arbitrary amounts.” Streamers are also entering pays tiers, which is ideal to structure bonus pay, Simon adds.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partners

Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman

Snow, Levin and Passman lead the film and TV group at Gang, Tyre, closing headline-making deals for top showbiz vets, including Dwayne Johnson (to star in and produce Amazon’s “Red One”), Elton John (Disney+ agreements for the live stream and subsequent documentary about his final North American concert at Dodger Stadium), Ben Stiller (commercial deal with PlayStation; pact to direct Season 2 of Apple TV+ series “Severance”), Regina King (first-look deal with Netflix and pact to direct and executive produce “Man in Full” for the streamer), Martin Lawrence (“Bad Boys 4”) and Robert Zemeckis (directing and producing deal for “Here,” starring Tom Hanks and Robin Wright). They also inked career-changing deals for actors Kerry Condon (Oscar-nominated role in “The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Bella Ramsey (HBO’s “The Last of Us”), set Selma Blair to appear on “Dancing With the Stars” and to join ability-inclusive cosmetics company Guide Beauty as its chief creative officer, and negotiated distribution agreements for docs including Brett Morgen’s “Moonage Daydream.”

Downside of a network series order: “Somebody who’s working on 22 episodes, that’s a very big commitment,” says Snow. “They might prefer a 10-or eight-episode situation.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partners

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

The Century City-based quartet worked $3.5 billion in film, television, digital media, music and video game transactions in the past year. Spicer, Griffith, Miller and Roman often rep financial institutions. Clients include Media Rights Capital on multiple matters including licensing movie “Fair Play” in January for a reported $20 million in a Sundance Fillm Festival auction. They repped Bank of America, including its ongoing senior secured revolving credit facility to Blumhouse for P&A and a $100 million credit facility for Electric Entertainment in May. They advised Comerica Bank for its multimillion-dollar credit facility to Bryon Allen’s Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures affiliate, and a production loan in August for STX and Michael Mann’s film “Ferrari.” They repped JPMorgan Chase Securities for its $82 million production loan in June for the second season of “Power Book IV: Force.” Other clients include East West Bank, HPS Investment Partners and MUFG Bank.

Casting a wider net: Hollywood used to source content narrowly from books, magazine articles and Broadway, but in the digital age “anyone and anything can be turned into content that then can be monetized,” says Griffith. Sources now extend to TikTok vignettes, video games and output from digital influencers, she observes.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks

Strent advises Lizzo, including for her Amazon Prime reality series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” which won an Emmy in September. He repped the NBA for an HBO documentary about the Boston Celtics. Strent negotiates for Priyanka Chopra Jonas in acting/ producing deals, including recently expanding her deal with Amazon Studios. Other clients include former Time Warner CEO and present-day producer Jeff Bewkes, Mariska Hargitay, LeBron James, Meadowlark Media, actor/influencer Shay Mitchell and Vox Media’s New York Magazine in licensing intellectual property. Strent is in New York.

More arm wrestling: As Hollywood buyers become multiplatform, they increasingly angle for stage-play adaptation, documentary and podcast rights that they used to leave to creators, Strent says. “You’re negotiating deal points that maybe you didn’t negotiate years ago.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner, Co-Leader, Entertainment, Sports & Media Group

Sidley Austin

Thompson repped Mark Burnett continuing his relationship at MGM and Amazon in a multiyear producer pact in November; Ben Affleck and Matt Damon launching producer Artists Equity with a minimum $100 million investment from RedBird Capital Partners in November; and Artists Equity’s theatrical “Air” at Amazon Studios. In 2022, Thompson worked music-related acquisitions amounting to nine figures for Warner Music, including indie label 300 Entertainment. The attorney also repped Raine Group in its July sale of Thrill One Sports & Entertainment. Lookin’ good: Despite economic headwinds including tightening financial markets, Hollywood rides higher than many other industries because consumer consumption rises. “Entertainment assets continue to be attractive, and we anticipate being as busy ever,” working deals, Thompson says.

TRANSACTIONAL

Partner

Kirkland & Ellis

As co-leader of the firm’s technology & IP transactions practice, Traxler pursues agreements that advance all par- ties’ interests and help the industry evolve, including media rights deals, music catalog sales, brand ambassador relationships and acquisitions of content companies. He represented Hipgnosis in acquiring Justin Timber- lake’s catalog in 2022 and Justin Bie- ber’s catalog in 2023. Launched in 2021, Hipgnosis has already spent roughly $500 million on music catalogs. Traxler advised MNRK Music Group on its sale of Death Row Records to Snoop Dogg, and counseled ABRY in its $100 million investment in Kevin Hart’s company, Hartbeat.

Economic shifts: Traxler says volatility, including pricing dislocation caused by economic uncertainty, makes his job tricky: “It made predicting the future even harder than normal. Then, once any deal did gain traction, the challenge was to move as fast, wisely and as fairly as possible.”

TRANSACTIONAL

Partners

Ziffren Brittenham

Each member of this team has his own superpowers. Wolf, fluent in corporate and financial languages, brings a fresh perspective to transactions; Gilbert-Lurie’s meticulous, Jedi-like attention to detail means he knows the importance that even the smallest details play in structuring a deal; Rubinfeld can explain the intricacies of complex deals in terms anyone can understand; and Bahat’s past agency experience gives him insights into the needs and wants of all parties involved in a negotiation. Be it Wolf ’s first-look deal for Skydance’s live-action features that nabbed a multi-hundred-million-dollar commitment from Apple, Gilbert-Lurie overseeing Fremantle’s acquisition of Eureka Entertainment or Rubinfeld and Bahat’s recent Boulderlight Pictures first-look deal with New Line — not to mention selling Jimmy Warden’s spec script for “Cocaine Bear” — Ziffren’s transactional team helps its clients move forward.

Accountability: “One of the trends ushered in by streaming is the opacity of profits in the lack of data sharing, and the sort of black-box approach to data and profit information,” Rubinfeld says. “That makes it more challenging to structure some of these deals so they benefit everybody, but it’s a challenge we look forward to.”

TRANSACTIONAL Partner

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Yen led the Manatt team that advised Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat on the multiplatform media company’s formation and its $100 million capital raise by private equity firm ABRY Partners. Yen advised independent AVOD service FilmRise on upsizing its working capital facility to a nine-figure commitment, and various companies on cross-border deals. These include MS Participation’s financing of “Lee,” starring Kate Winslet; and MS and Storyteller Prods.’ financing of Michael Mann’s “Ferrari.”

Reluctance from non-bank lenders: “They’ve been a lot more shy about lending in the media entertainment space, and, if they do, it comes at a very high price,” says Yen. “And that’s important because not all companies can get a bank loan.”

UP NEXT

Associate, Entertainment, Technology & Advertising

Sheppard, Mullin

Akhavan is the lead attorney and point of contact for Disney TV Animation and pro bono client L.A. Opera. He’s also handled unscripted and scripted TV and movie projects for Amazon Studios and helped TelevisaUnivision launch its streaming platform, ViX. Akhavan served as lead outside counsel for Amazon scripted series “Swarm,” leading negotiations with creators Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, along with Dominique Fishback, Malia Obama, Damson Idris and Chloe Bailey. He’s the go-to for Amazon’s unscripted slate and closed deals with Skydance Sports for “Good Rivals,” Rihanna’s Fenty brand for “Savage X,” Bunim-Murray for “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” and Springhill (Lebron James and Maverick Carter) for “Top Class.” The attorney leveraged his knowledge of VFX to manage all VFX agreements for Amazon’s “Rings of Power,” including with Weta, ILM and the Third Floor.

UP NEXT

Associate

Latham & Watkins

Anvar has been involved with some of the most high-profile recent deals in showbiz. These include: Endeavor’s $775 million sale of a majority inter- est in Endeavor Content to CJ ENM; A24 Films’ $225 million equity private placement and its senior secured revolving credit facility; Skydance Media’s partnership with the NFL and NFL Films to create Skydance Sports; Blumhouse’s arrangement with Universal and Morgan Creek to reboot “The Exorcist” franchise; Beyoncé in brand ambassador engagements; Tom Brady in intellectual property licenses and corporate ventures; Jon Favreau across entertainment projects, real estate, employment, trade- mark management and other areas; Stampede Entertainment in joint ventures, including HappyNest with UTA and Specific House with author Mo Willems; and Mast-Jägermeister in connection with its investment in Teremana, the tequila brand founded by Dwayne Johnson.

UP NEXT

Associate

Interactive Entertainment Group Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz

Channeling a lifelong love of horror stories and video games, New York-based Council helped provide the legal architecture for some of today’s most innovative game projects in the horror category. Recent work includes working with teams that advised on and drafted development, distribution and independent contractor agreements for Gun Media on its upcoming “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” game; repping game developer Turtle Rock Studios (“Left 4 Dead,” “Back 4 Blood”); and advising on IP licenses and negotiating development and distribution agreements for “The Walking Dead” experience, developed by Genvid. Council brings to her work a deep knowledge of interactive technology via her background at NYU Shanghai, from which she graduated with a bachelor’s in interactive media arts.

UP NEXT

Associate

Barnes & Thornburg

Working alongside Entertainment, Sports & Media Practice Group Chair Jason Karlov, Craver leads a team that analyzes music copyright claims. He also advises pro sports teams on music licensing and music issues related to live events. Craver created analytical model teams to estimate the costs of music licenses and determine settlement offers. The model is used to negotiate settlement agreements on behalf of dozens of major sports teams throughout U.S. professional leagues facing claims of alleged music copyright infringements played via clients’ social media accounts. Teams for which Craver handled music licensing include the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Dodgers. Craver also handled legal work for Michael Bolton, and music-related legal work for John Fogerty and T Bone Burnett.

UP NEXT

Partner

Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder The son of touring industry heavy-weight Bruce Eskowitz, Kevin Eskowitz, the newest partner at RMB, grew up spending several nights a week at live gigs, including with Smashing Pumpkins and Alanis Morrissette. That background informs his representation of such clients as Gryffin, JPEGMAFIA, Noname, label and management company GODMODE, and many other songwriters, producers, labels, publishing, and management companies. Notably, he recently helped lead Conan Gray from online influencer to fleshed-out creative artist, with a national tour that saw him move into major amphitheaters and climb to No. 3 on Billboard’s top album chart with “Superache.” The attorney has quickly built a reputation for helping creators at the forefront of today’s digital and social media-fueled environment.

UP NEXT

Partner

Loeb & Loeb

Along with Loeb & Loeb’s John Gatti, Fried recently secured a victory for DirectTV in litigation brought by SAG-AFTRA involving the issue of whether the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) applies to a TV distributor, which is not a producer under the DMCA, and whether DirecTV owes SAG-AFTRA actor residuals related to David E. Kelley’s “Mr. Mercedes.” Other wins: for Miramax against photographer Firooz Zahedi, who claimed to own the rights to an iconic photograph of Uma Thurman used in a movie poster for “Pulp Fiction”; and for singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman in a copyright infringement case based on rapper and songwriter Nicky Minaj’s sampling of Chapman’s works without permission. Fried is currently defending CNN in a copyright infringement case, repping Netflix and Mark and Ross Duffer against allegations that “Stranger Things” copied elements from an unpublished screenplay, and BET against an implied-in-fact contract claim based on an alleged misappropriation of a pitch.

UP NEXT

Attorney

Ziffren Brittenham

Gilliams, who reps top showbiz talent and production companies, has played a major role in bringing high-profile deals to a close. Among them: her negotiation of comic giant Eddie Murphy’s acting deals for the upcoming “Beverly Hills Cop 4” and “Candy Cane Lane” features. Alongside her teams at Ziffren, Gilliams also represents top-tier corporate and individual clients such as Macro Media, Words + Pictures, Universal Music Group, Microsoft, Harpo Films, Dick Wolf, Matt Damon, Janelle Monáe, Shakira and Craig Robinson, among other highly recognized rights holders and talent.

UP NEXT

Senior Counsel

Eisner

Gutglass specializes in the music industry, with clients ranging from high-profile artists to songwriters, producers and developing acts. Re- cent work includes negotiating G-Ea- zy’s Resorts World 2022 Las Vegas residency deal; repping Jon Batiste in his global endorsement deals with Amazon for Amazon Prime Day and Tommy Hilfiger for its fall 2022 campaign; and handling Guapdad 4000’s endorsement deals with Monster Energy, Hpnotiq and Skullcandy. Additionally, over the past year, he closed over $60 million in catalog sales. Also, he provided clearance work for recording artist Sofi Tukker’s “Wet Tennis” album; repped producer Jasper Harris in his composer agreements for seasons 1 and 2 of TV show “Dave”; and repped Grammy-nominated producer of the year Boi-1da, including in connection with his production work on Drake’s “Her Loss” album and Be- yoncé’s “Renaissance” album.

UP NEXT

Associates

Venable

McWhorter advises corporate companies and talent on a wide range of business deals focusing on commercial agreements and intellectual property aspects. Recent matters include a brand ambassador deal for a household name star, and a videogame licensing deal in which a client will appear as a playable character. Djahanbani advises companies and individuals on corporate partnerships and taxation matters and has structured tax planning for execs, musicians and entrepreneurs. Recent work includes advising an A-list actor and his company in a partnership with an online platform; helping a well-known ac- tor-producer acquire an equity stake in a beverage company; and helping guide a comedian’s podcast company.

UP NEXT

Associate

Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks

Sharma’s recent feats include repping LeBron James in various matters, including an endorsement deal with Sony PlayStation and his appearance in Netflix’s “The Redeem Team” and Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football in the Shop”; Robert De Niro in a producing deal for “Midnight Run II” and an acting deal for Barry Levinson’s “The Wise Guys”; Lady Gaga in an acting deal for Todd Phillips’ “Joker 2: Folie à Deux”; Spike Lee as production counsel for ESPN series “Da Saga of Colin Kaepernick”; and Andrew Ross Sorkin in connection with exec producer services for development of a scripted HBO project on the GameStop stock story. Other clients: NBA, Paramount and MTV, former HBO CEO Richard Plepler’s Eden Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Sony Music Entertainment and the Springhill Company.

UP NEXT

Associate

Greenberg Traurig

Zhang’s client roster extends to recording artists, songwriters, producers, and negotiators of deals concerning publishing, composing, production, touring, endorsements, influencers, licensing and distribution. She also serves as outside counsel for indie labels and music publishers, and advises on both catalog acquisitions and sales of music copyrights, trademarks and related rights. Recent significant work includes advising Apollo’s Capital Solutions, a division of Apollo Global Management, on what the trade press has described as the largest asset-backed securitization offering of music rights in the industry to date, with $1.8 billion of bonds secured by Concord’s diverse catalog of more than one million pieces of recorded music and publishing assets, including those of Phil Collins, Creedence Clearwater Revival, R.E.M., Daft Punk, Miles Davis, Imagine Dragons, Pink Floyd, Cyndi Lauper, Little Richard and James Taylor.

LITIGATIONPrincipalsBird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & RhowConsistent inconsistencies:LITIGATIONChair, Entertainment & Media LitigationPartnerPartnerPartnerVenableDusty and moldy:LITIGATIONPartner, Co-Chair, Media, Entertainment & Technology Practice GroupPartner, Co-Chair Global Trial Practice GroupPartner, Co-Chair, Global Trade Secrets Practice GroupPartnerGibson, Dunn & CrutcherReality check:LITIGATIONPartnerEllis George Cipollone O’Brien AnnagueyBelieving in justice:LITIGATIONPartnersLatham & WatkinsLive music litigation: LITIGATIONPartner, Chair, Litigation Dept.Partner, Chair, Employment Dept.PartnerPartnerGlaser WeilBad form: LITIGATIONCo-Chair, LitigationPartnerPartnerPartnerLoeb & LoebPurloined pitches, stolen scripts:LITIGATIONPartner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry Group, Co-Chair, Commercial LitigationPractice GroupPartner, Co-Chair, Music Industry Group, Vice Chair, Sports Industry GroupPartner, Chair, Music Industry GroupPartner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry Group, Co-Chair, Diversity & Inclusion InitiativeCovington & BurlingContractually speaking:LITIGATIONPartnersKinsella Weitzman Iser Kump HolleyThis isn’t Twitter:LITIGATIONPartner, Chair, Entertainment & Media Litigation PracticePartner, Entertainment & Media Litigation PracticePartner, Entertainment & Media Litigation PracticeOf Counsel, Entertainment & Media Litigation PracticePaul HastingsDrawing the lines:LITIGATIONPartner, Trial Practice Chair, Firm Vice ChairPartner, Entertainment, Sports & Media Group Co-ChairPartnerPartnerO’Melveny & MyersProfit-participation potential on self-owned streamers:LITIGATIONPartner, Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media Industry GroupLatham & WatkinsTaking off the gloves:LITIGATIONShareholder, Media & Entertainment Litigation PracticeGreenberg TraurigPersonal touch:LITIGATIONPartnerBlank RomeIt’s not business, it’s personal:LITIGATIONPartnerPartner; Chair, Internet, Digital Media & Entertainment PracticePartnerSenior CounselStubbs Alderton & MarkilesIf there’s a guild strike…:LITIGATIONPartner, Chair, Commercial Litigation & Crisis ManagementPartner, Commercial Litigation & Crisis ManagementPartner, Commercial Litigation & Crisis ManagementAssociate, Crisis ManagementMeister Seelig & FeinPeople’s court:LITIGATIONPartner, Head, Media & Entertainment GroupPartnerPartnerAssociateRuss August & KabatLawsuits of the future:LITIGATIONPartnersEarly Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRaeHello, he lied:LITIGATIONPartnerLavely & SingerIn a fighting mood:MUSICPartnersAlter Kendrick & BaronAdvice for would-be music lawyers:MUSICShareholderShareholderShareholder, Senior Chair, N.Y. Entertainment & Media PracticeGreenberg TraurigMUSICManaging PartnerBoyarski FritzOngoing challenge:MUSICLeader, Manatt EntertainmentPartner, Manatt EntertainmentPartner, Manatt EntertainmentPartner, Manatt EntertainmentManatt, Phelps & PhillipsBrave new world:MUSICFounder, PrincipalThe Davis FirmFresh opportunity:MUSICPartner, Member, Executive Committee & Co-Chair, Music Litigation PracticePartner, Co-chair, Media + Entertainment GroupPartner, Co-Chair, Copyright & Music Practice GroupsPartner, Co-Chair, Music Litigation PracticePryor CashmanBustling:MUSICPartnerMyman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & LightLimited real estate:MUSICPartnersZiffren BrittenhamTime for a change:MUSICFounder/OwnerManaging PartnerLaPolt LawFreedom of speech:MUSICPartnerMitchell Silberberg & KnuppPractice, practice, practice:MUSICNamed Partner, Head, Music Dept.PartnerGrubman, Shire, Meiselas & SacksAdditional headlines:MUSICManaging PartnerAttorneyArrington & PhillipsNew day:MUSICPartner-in-Charge (New York), Music Acquisitions & Financing ChairMichelman & RobinsonHigh Tide:MUSICChairman, Global Entertainment & Media PracticeShareholder, Co-Chair, Atlanta Entertainment & Media PracticeGreenberg TraurigMetaversing:MUSICFounding PartnersRothenberg, Mohr & BinderTime for a change:MUSICManaging Partner, Co-Head, Music GroupPartner, Co-Head, Music GroupPartner, Co-Head, MusicGang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & PassmanMUSICPartnerEisnerForward thinking:MUSICFounding PartnerFounding PartnerOf CounselCarter + WoodardCounsel for emerging artists:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Global Co-Chair, Media, Sports & Entertainment SectorPartner, Co-Chair, Entertainment Transactions PracticePartner Co-Chair, Entertainment Finance PracticeSenior AssociateDLA PiperRound trip:TRANSACTIONALPartnerJackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & KleinGood luck, AI:TRANSACTIONALChair, Entertainment TransactionsPartnerPartnerCounselVenableCaution:TRANSACTIONALVice Chairman, Global Entertainment & Media PracticeGreenberg TraurigReality check:TRANSACTIONALCorporate PartnersLatham & WatkinsForeign exchange:TRANSACTIONALPartnersSheppard, Mullin, Richter & HamptonIndie angles:TRANSACTIONALPartnerManatt, Phelps & PhillipsTRANSACTIONALPartner, Entertainment GroupFrankfurt KurnitMost troubling trend:TRANSACTIONALPartnerAssociateDel Shaw Moonves Tananka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & DangWhat a difference a day makes:TRANSACTIONALCo-FounderCo-FounderPartnerPartnerCohen GardnerBringing back the backend:TRANSACTIONALPartnerO’Melveny & MyersRepairing a rocky relationship:TRANSACTIONALSenior Partner, Head of Global MediaSenior AssociateAssociateAssociateSheppard, Mullin, Richter & HamptonGoing large:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Global Co-Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media PracticeLatham & WatkinsStill percolating:TRANSACTIONALChair, Entertainment PracticeCo-Chair, Corporate, Capital Markets & Sports PracticeChair, Entertainment Finance PracticeLoeb & LoebPlaying for keeps:TRANSACTIONALChair, Entertainment TransactionsChair, Music & Digital MediaPartnerPartnerWillkie Farr & GallagherOn the horizon:TRANSACTIONALPartnersGreenberg GluskerThe two-minute AI script polish:TRANSACTIONALPartnerPartnerPartnerCounselSidley AustinCircling back:TRANSACTIONALNamed PartnerNamed PartnerNamed PartnerPartnerYorn Levine Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner Endlich & GellmanPotential strike stress and strategic choices:TRANSACTIONALPartnerPartnerPartnerGendler & KellyEyes on the horizon:TRANSACTIONALPartnersGinsburg Daniels KallisAftermath of streaming war retreat:TRANSACTIONALPartnerPartnerPartnerAssociateWeintraub TobinMaking podcasts more discoverable:TRANSACTIONALPartnerPartnerPartnerPartner, Chair, New Media GroupGranderson Des RochersShow us the data, streamers: TRANSACTIONALPartnerGrubman Shire Meiselas & SacksTRANSACTIONALPartnerPartnerCounselCounselNixon PeabodyEQ power:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Chair, Century City officePartner, Co-Chair, Global Entertainment & Media FinancePartner, Co-Chair, Global Entertainment & Media FinancePartner, Entertainment & MediaPartner, Entertainment & MediaPaul HastingsShow me the money:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Co-Chair, Media + Entertainment PracticePartner, Co-Chair, Media + Entertainment PracticePryor CashmanEverything always flux all at once:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media Practice GroupPartnerPartnerPartnerBarnes & ThornburgPushing the boundaries:TRANSACTIONALNamed PartnerYorn Levine Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner Endlich & GellmanFighting studio exclusivity clauses:TRANSACTIONALPartnerJackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & KleinPotential for strikes:TRANSACTIONALPartnerLichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & ClarkAnxious times: TRANSACTIONALAttorney at LawHansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & FoxLabor of love:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Co-Chair, Sports Industry Group, Co-Chair, Antitrust Litigation Practice GroupPartner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry Group, Co-Chair, Music Industry GroupPartner, Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Industry GroupSpecial CounselCovington & BurlingMedia maze:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Co-Chair, Media, Entertainment & Technology Practice GroupGibson, Dunn & CrutcherUnconventional:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Founding Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Dept.Fox RothschildFutureproofing:TRANSACTIONALChair, West Coast Private Clients GroupPartnerWillkie Farr & GallagherTaxing concerns:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Entertainment GroupPartner, Entertainment GroupPartner, Entertainment GroupCounsel, Entertainment GroupFrankfurt Kurnit Klein & SelzAdditional distribution windows staying shut in doc space:TRANSACTIONALPartnerDLA PiperFuzzy line:TRANSACTIONALNamed Partner3B Law (Bruns Brennan Berry Pikulin & Jacobs)Bad times won’t stop the financing:TRANSACTIONALManaging PartnerPartnerPartnerRamo LawSlowdown for streamers and podcasts:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Co-Chair, Media, Entertainment & Technology Practice GroupGibson, Dunn & CrutcherGetting creative:TRANSACTIONALCo-Founder, PartnerPartner Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & DangA(bel) To Z(orro): TRANSACTIONALPartner, Head, New Media, Motion Picture & Sports Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks TRANSACTIONALPartner, Co-Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media GroupPartner, Co-Chair, MediaTech GroupPartnerPartnerUkraine fallout? TRANSACTIONALChair, Entertainment & Sports Law PracticeFox RothschildBonus time:TRANSACTIONALPartnersGang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & PassmanDownside of a network series order: TRANSACTIONALPartnersAkin Gump Strauss Hauer & FeldCasting a wider net:TRANSACTIONALPartnerGrubman Shire Meiselas & SacksMore arm wrestling:TRANSACTIONALPartner, Co-Leader, Entertainment, Sports & Media GroupSidley AustinLookin’ good: TRANSACTIONALPartnerKirkland & Ellis Economic shifts: TRANSACTIONALPartnersZiffren BrittenhamAccountability:TRANSACTIONAL PartnerManatt, Phelps & Phillips Reluctance from non-bank lenders:UP NEXTAssociate, Entertainment, Technology & AdvertisingSheppard, MullinUP NEXTAssociate Latham & Watkins UP NEXTAssociateInteractive Entertainment Group Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz UP NEXTAssociateBarnes & ThornburgUP NEXTPartner Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder UP NEXT PartnerLoeb & LoebUP NEXTAttorney Ziffren BrittenhamUP NEXTSenior CounselEisnerUP NEXTAssociatesVenable UP NEXTAssociateGrubman Shire Meiselas & SacksUP NEXTAssociateGreenberg Traurig