The feuds and financial stakes are bigger than ever as THR presents its annual list of the 100 top legal minds in Hollywood, who brokered Wanda’s $3.5 billion purchase of Legendary, helped Hulk Hogan smack down Gawker and took sides in the Kesha-Dr. Luke battle.
Each year for the past decade, The Hollywood Reporter has researched the bigger deals and lawsuits in the entertainment industry to determine the 100 most influential attorneys in Hollywood. From the talent dealmakers for everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Steven Spielberg to the litigators going to war for Disney, Warner Bros. and even Charlie Sheen, THR’s list has become the bible for who’s who of legal minds in showbiz.
This year, the list features Hulk Hogan’s Gawker slayers, the negotiators behind Wanda’s $3.5 billion purchase of Legendary Entertainment, both sides of the Kesha v. Dr. Luke mess, Sean Penn’s pit bull (who is threatening to take a $10 million bite out of Empire co-creator Lee Daniels) and slew of other attorneys who keep Hollywood running.
Profiles written by Paul Bond, Ashley Cullins, Rebecca Ford, Mia Galuppo, Eriq Gardner, Natalie Jarvey, Borys Kit, Kendal McAlpin, Pamela McClintock, Brian Porreca, Bryn Elise Sandberg, Tatiana Siegel, Kate Stanhope, Rebecca Sun and Michael Walker
Freedman & Taitelman
ALMA MATER University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
WHY HE MATTERS He’s still repping UTA in its ongoing dispute with CAA (over the poaching of 13 agents) and is continuing to defend the agency against a boutique firm’s anti-trust claim (a judge recently granted UTA’s motion to dismiss). But he also has taken on a new client, filing a suit against CBS in March on behalf of talent agency Rebel Entertainment, which claims it is owed profits from Judge Judy.
FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT “Judge Judy, as long as my client got his proper commission from the appointment.”