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Hollywood Attorneys Guide the Biz


Hollywood Attorneys Guide the Biz Defending high-profile
clients in court, cutting deals for corporate mergers, and shaping multimillion-dollar pre-nups is all in a day’s work for these pros

ON A HANDSHAKE
Tom Hanks,
right, plays a
principled
lawyer in
“Bridge of Spies.”

CORPORATE:
INHOUSE ATTORNEYS

………………………………………..

KERRY BROCKHAGE
Senior VP; chief counsel, content
distribution, NBCUniversal Media
UC HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW, 1984
Brockhage crafts the
agreements for NBCU’s
broadcast TV stations to
be retransmitted by
cable TV, satellite and
telco platforms, where battles over
pricing have intensified in recent years.
“The good news is you’re usually able to
find an agreement that works for both
sides,” she says. “So the incentive’s there,
and the market’s working.” In addition to
retrans for broadcast, Brockhage
negotiates cable network carriage
transactions, TV Everywhere deals for Rio
Olympics coverage and compliance with
consent decrees/FCC orders approving
earlier Comcast acquisitions.

………………………………………..

GABRIEL BRAKIN
Exec VP, business and legal affairs,
Participant Media
UCLA, 2005
Brakin is responsible
for developing and
executing industry
strategies for Participant,
the socially conscious
producer behind this year’s best picture
Oscar nominees “Bridge of Spies and
“Spotlight” (the latter won). However his
biggest deal was not for a project, but for
a company: Amblin Partners, co-founded
by Steven Spielberg and Participant
founder Jeff Skoll, along with Reliance
Entertainment and Entertainment One.
“At a firm, you deal with some really large
transactions for multiple clients,” says
Brakin, who began his career doing
transactional work for O’Melveny &
Myers. “But once you’re inhouse, you take
ownership of everything, from the big to
the small.”

………………………………………..

PETER BRODSKY
Exec VP, business & legal affairs,
Sony/ATV Music Publishing
BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL, 1990
Sony/ATV leads a
music-publishing
industry drive to
convince the Justice
Department to allow
publishers to negotiate music deals
directly while also assigning other
transactions to outside performing rights
organizations. “The market will set the
price in a fair way through direct
negotiations,” says Brodsky. Sony/ATV
did direct deals until an internet music
service won a court decision. Brodsky
notes that PROs are hamstrung by
government consent decrees, so they’re
not suitable to handle all transactions. His
duties include new-media initiatives,
content agreements and legislative
advocacy. He played a lead role in Sony’s
EMI Music Publishing acquisition.

………………………………………..

SETH KRAUSS
Chief legal officer, WME | IMG
WASHINGTON U. SCHOOL OF LAW, 1995
With WME | IMG
mushrooming through
acquisitions, the
company now has
employees in over 25
countries and operates in even more.
“The complexities only grow as you get
bigger,” says Krauss, citing his general
counsel duties touching cross-border
transactions, achieving tax efficiencies,
employment matters, litigation, privacy
regulations, and protecting IP across a
sprawl of jurisdictions. He focuses on
spotting issues, and then marshals legal
assets to resolve. Based in New York,
Krauss oversees legal affairs, business
affairs and risk management as the talent
agency diversifies into ownership
businesses. He joined in 2014 from
vidgamer Take-Two Interactive.

………………………………………..

BONNIE E. ESKENAZI
Partner, Greenberg Glusker
STANFORD, 1985
Eskenazi’s recent case
load has included the
Marley Natural cannabis
branding deal for the
Bob Marley estate and
the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien in a
rights dispute with Warner Bros. and the
Saul Zaentz Co. But her most interesting
litigation is an ongoing case regarding
whether a competitor can remain
anonymous in a court battle over
defamatory remarks made about an
industry rival anonymously via email. “It
pits our longstanding unfair competition
laws in the state against the new
technologies that allow people to engage
in anonymous banter,” Eskenazi says.

………………………………………..

THE BENCH Bryan
Freedman took
on “Judge Judy”
on behalf of Rebel
Entertainment.
………………………………………..

BRYAN J. FREEDMAN
Founding partner,
Freedman + Taitelman

U. OF THE PACIFIC’S MCGEORGE
SCHOOL OF LAW, 1990
Personal managers,
talent agents and
promoters can violate
rules imposed by
government, unions/
guilds and sports leagues if they stray by
providing unauthorized services. Such
middlemen “have to be careful to stay on
their own side of the street,” Freedman
says. “If they are not carefully schooled in
each particular area, the result can be
devastating.” The risks are that their
client talent may legally void contracts
and also sanctions imposed by oversight
industry groups and government.
Freedman reps UTA over departing
agents, Rebel Entertainment’s Richard
Lawrence seeking packaging fees from
syndication’s “Judge Judy,” and Variety
owner Penske Media Corp.

………………………………………..

PATRICIA (PATTY) GLASER
Litigation department chair and partner, Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro
RUTGERS SCHOOL OF LAW, 1973
Glaser’s work this year
includes serving as lead
trial counsel for Morgan
Creek Prods. in a dispute
concerning a biopic of
rapper and actor Tupac Shakur, advising
Boulevard Management in defense of a
suit by NBA star Gilbert Arenas, and
repping Rysher Entertainment and 2929
Entertainment in a contract-related case
against Cox Media Group. “Contracts are
conceptually one of the most difficult
areas to deal with,” says Glaser, whose
clients also include WME, New Regency,
Roar, El Rey Network, Intrepid Pictures,
Bold Films, CBS Entertainment, Disney
and Sony. “It’s fun and it’s a challenge.”

………………………………………..

DAVID HALBERSTADTER
Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman
GEORGETOWN U. LAW CENTER, 1982
In February,
Halberstadter helped
achieve a victory for
client Summit
Entertainment in a
precedent-setting case in which an Iraq
War veteran claimed the 2009 Oscarwinning
film “The Hurt Locker” was based
on his experience as a bomb disposal
expert. “The result has been a fairly
strong statement that creators of works
like this absolutely have a First
Amendment right to tell these stories,” he
notes. His other cases this year include
defending Cumulus Media in a putative
class action and defending director Terry
Gilliam in a copyright infringement suit.

………………………………………..

NEAL RAYMOND HERSH
Partner, Hersh, Mannis & Bogen
SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL, 1976
JOSEPH MANNIS
Partner, Hersh, Mannis & Bogen
LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL, 1971
When working at distant locations such
as film shoots, a divorced parent faces
revising visitation for his or her children
and has to deal once again with lawyers
of former spouses. “It’s becoming a more
and more prevalent issue with the world
of young celebrities with children,” says
Hersh. Arrangements can be expensive
with logistics, educational tutors and
sometimes even paying travel costs for
an ex-spouse. Mannis says judges usually
accept whatever the parents agree to,
but “when you can’t get a deal in place,
then you end up in court.” Hersh and
Mannis represent executives, talent and
athletes in family law for divorce, prenups,
child support-visitation-custody
and privacy.

………………………………………..

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