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Power Lawyers 2011

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    Marc Toberoff
    Marc Toberoff
    Toberoff & Associates

    WHY I SUE STUDIOS: Because they give me no choice. I stand up for the rights of the very artists on whose talent their fortunes are built. At a time when studios must vigilantly prosecute piracy of their own intellectual property, there needs to be greater compunction about trampling on creators' rights.

    Unfortunately, some corporations have succeeded by waging an economic war of attrition: The cost of protracted litigation against a deep-pocketed studio, coupled with its ability to blacklist an opponent, very effectively deters talent from pursuing legal claims. Many law partners charge $700 to $800 an hour (some top names get $1,000 an hour). Few attorneys are willing to handle Hollywood cases on a success-driven basis because of the expense and risks involved.

    Many attorneys also have clear client conflicts or just fear tangling with the studios. That is understandable, as some studios personalize any challenge to their bread and butter. This is not a criticism of those who work at studios, many of whom are wonderful people with deep respect for artists and a sense of fairness; if they controlled the core legal decisions, I would be able to spend a lot more time with my kids.

    I enjoy making money like everyone else, but I also take on cases where I believe an injustice has occurred and something must be done about it. At the end of very long days (or years), that is what refuels me, and it's the only edge I've got.

    Toberoff is representing the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster against Warner Bros.

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