Power Lawyers 2016: Hollywood's Top 100 Attorneys

6:00 AM 4/20/2016

by THR Staff

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.

Skip Brittenham with client Harrison Ford photographed by Christopher Patey on March 22 at Brittenham’s home court in Santa Monica.
Photographed by Christopher Patey

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

Read more: Meet 9 of the Dealmakers of the Year | Hollywood's Top Music Business Attorneys | How Many F-Bombs Is Too Many for FX? Meet the Attorney Who Decides

  • Karl Austen

    Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS A hyper-aggressive industry player, Austen negotiated Eddie Redmayne's multipicture deal with Warner Bros. to star in November's Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as Kristen Wiig's for Alexander Payne's Downsizing (and the year before, for Ghostbusters). He did Transparent creator Jill Soloway's overall deal at Amazon (a first for the streaming giant) and helped Billions creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien and star Damian Lewis come to terms with Showtime. Other clients: Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Jonah Hill, the Russo brothers.

    LAST VACATION "In Mammoth, with my family, skiing for spring break."

  • Andrew Bart

    Jenner & Block

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia University School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS After years of litigation, Bart won a $50 million judgment against streaming music website Grooveshark on behalf of UMG Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. And in October, the New York-based litigator successfully defended Jay Z in a copyright infringement case over the rapper's sampling of an Egyptian song in his 1999 hit single "Big Pimpin'."

    I COLLECT … "Sound recordings. While the world shifts to streaming platforms, I am one of those dinosaurs who continue to buy significant numbers of CDs and albums."

  • Daniel Black

    Greenberg Traurig

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER George Washington University Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Black has carved out a niche helping traditional media clients make a push into digital, representing companies like the BBC, which is prepping the launch of an O.T.T. streaming service. He also is helping online poker company PokerStars transform into a developer of original content. Other clients: Pokemon, Revlon and soon-to-launch app Topstars.

    I COLLECT … "Biographies of historical figures. I find bios inspirational."

  • Jake Bloom

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Cornell Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS As A-list as any of his clients, Bloom reps big-name producers, directors and stars, including Jerry Bruckheimer (readying Top Gun 2), Lorenzo di Bonaventura (prepping a fifth Transformers movie), Martin Scorsese (about to shoot The Irishman with Robert De Niro), Brad Bird (signed for The Incredibles 2), Johnny Depp (Pirates 5) and Sylvester Stallone (doing a thriller for STX).

    LAST VACATION "Sun Valley, Idaho. I have a home up there."

  • Susan Bodine

    Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of New Hampshire School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS The New York-based dealmaker spent much of the year working on the Roots reboot for A+E Networks, helping structure the miniseries' financing and inking talent pacts. But client Jose Padilha has been keeping her busy as well, producing and directing Netflix's Narcos, signing on to direct the hostage drama Entebbe and completing a development deal with Showtime for his limited series The Brand. She also reps Amazon Studios, locking agreements to begin photography on Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck in May.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT "Our office is in the Flatiron District, and there are so many great restaurants nearby. I like Ilili, an upscale Lebanese place."

  • Christopher Brearton

    Latham & Watkins

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of Virginia Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Brearton helped deliver Steven Spielberg's new baby — Amblin Partners, a joint venture among DreamWorks, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One to create a new company producing as many as seven movies a year (all distributed by Universal). As Participant's attorney, the veteran dealmaker worked to bring Participant mogul Jeff Skoll's $200 million into what were DreamWorks' depleted coffers. Other clients include Starz Entertainment, Sierra Pictures and MGM.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? "I mostly Uber these days. No tickets."

  • Skip Brittenham

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Brittenham, likely the most powerful deal lawyer in Hollywood, long ago diversified his practice beyond representing talent. He handles more studio executives than just about anyone (Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tom Rothman, Nina Jacobson) and has become a de facto investment banker for entertainment, shepherding Legendary Entertainment's $3.5 billion acquisition by China's Dalian Wanda Group in January, Skydance Media's recent recapitalization and the planned rollout of Sean Parker's controversial home-movie service Screening Room.

    But Brittenham, married since 1992 to actress and activist Heather Thomas, still maintains A-list actors, and none had a better year than Harrison Ford. Besides reprising his Han Solo in the year's top-grossing film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ford is filming a Blade Runner sequel and signed for a fifth Indiana Jones movie. The actor, whom Brittenham has represented since before the original Star Wars in 1977, still plays tennis a few times a week at his lawyer's home court in Santa Monica. "He's actually an amazing player," says Brittenham. But Ford plays with a tennis pro from the nearby Riviera Country Club; the attorney and client don't face off against each other. Says Ford, "Skip's more of a doubles guy."

  • Harold Brown

    Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Brown's biggest deal of the year secured long-term financing for longtime firm client Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners. He also negotiated Robert Zemeckis' deal with Paramount for Allied, starring Brad Pitt, worked on deals for Dwayne Johnson (including the big-screen Baywatch) and helped close Stephen King's film and TV deals (including Sony's adaptation of The Dark Tower).

    IF I COULD REPRESENT ANY 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, IT WOULD BE "Marco Rubio. He has the most future potential."

  • John Burke

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Southwestern Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Specializing in media finance, Burke helped arrange the largest single-picture loan in history for an independently produced film — CIT Bank's $107 million investment in Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (out in 2017). As lawyer for RatPac-Dune Entertainment, he also brokered deals to finance such movies as The Revenant and Black Mass.

    IF I COULD REPRESENT ANY 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, IT WOULD BE "Donald Trump would be the candidate most in need of a good entertainment lawyer."

  • Joseph Calabrese

    Latham & Watkins

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Cornell Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Calabrese is the global chair of the L.A.-based megafirm's entertainment, sports and media practice, which means he spends a lot of time on the phone with China. He advised Legendary Entertainment on the studio's $3.5 billion acquisition by Dalian Wanda Group in January, China's largest Hollywood acquisition. He also represents Kobe Bryant in a deal with China's Alibaba Group and Sina to create a series of Kobe-branded products.

    GOOD LUCK CHARM "My 1964 DB5 Aston Martin."

  • Lisa Callif

    Donaldson and Callif

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Southwestern University School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS As one of the town's top clearance specialists, she vetted every episode of Netflix's Making a Murderer to ensure the show didn't violate anyone's legal rights. With partner Michael Donaldson, she has done the same for such recent docs as He Named Me Malala, The Hunting Ground and Weiner.

    I COLLECT … "I used to collect rocks when I was young and paint them with clear nail polish. Now my son collects rocks, and I've been able to pass it down to him."

  • Lindsay Conner

    Manatt Phelps & Phillips

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Conner is a conduit between China and Hollywood. He represented Beijing's Perfect World Pictures in its five-year, 50-film deal with Universal, announced in February and valued at $500 million (it's the first direct Chinese investment in a film slate of one of the six major studios). Last spring, he repped China's largest publicly held film company Huayi Bros. in its three-year, 18-film co-finance deal with STX Entertainment.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "My 9-year-old son's basketball team is coached by a TV showrunner and a multimillionaire investment manager, and they're fantastic coaches."

  • Melanie Cook

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS Cook hammered out Robin Wright's lucrative pact for a fourth season of Netflix's House of Cards (putting her "in the high echelon of pay for an actress," she says) and helped close big-screen deals for Wright to co-star in Wonder Woman and Blade Runner. She also renegotiated James Spader's deal for NBC's The Blacklist and redid Julie Taymor's royalties and licensing deal connected to The Lion King. Producer Scott Rudin also continues to keep Cook busy; he's making Annihilation at Paramount and All the Light We Cannot See at Searchlight. Directing deals she's closed in the past year include The Wonderling for Stephen Daldry at Fox and A Series of Unfortunate Events for Barry Levinson at Netflix.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? "No, but I did get out of a ticket for having my dog off leash in Franklin Canyon. I just promised never to do it again, and I have kept my word."

  • Christine Cuddy

    Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Stanford Law School

    WHY SHE MATTERS Cuddy handles top writers and authors — Anne Rice, Game of Thrones' George R.R. Martin, the D.H. Lawrence estate — but two of her major projects this year were all about … lawyers: She repped writer-producers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story as well as Susannah Grant, who wrote HBO's Confirmation.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "My husband, producer Harry Gittes, for whom the character in Chinatown is named. You can't get any more Hollywood than Jake Gittes."

  • Robert Darwell

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Georgetown University Law Center

    WHY HE MATTERS Darwell is known for his big-screen dealmaking (he helped sell Suffragette to Focus and represented The Revenant financier Empyre Capital), but now he's branching into digital. Along with representing clients such as YouTube star Tyler Oakley, he helped broker the deal that has Verizon carrying content from DreamWorks and AwesomenessTV and advised NEA with its eight-figure investment in Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle site Goop.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "That I live and work from five homes around the world [Beverly Hills, New York City, Nashville, Paris and Buenos Aires]."

  • Warren Dern

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Southwestern Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Superhero fans have Dern to thank for Zack Synder's deal to direct Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (and wife Deb Synder's to produce). A complex pact allows the Snyders to make eight more Warner Bros. tentpoles, including two Justice Leagues and Wonder Woman. Dern also negotiated for The Hangover's Todd Phillips to return to directing with War Dogs (Aug. 19) and steered Rebel Wilson's deal to return for Pitch Perfect 3.

    LAST VACATION Kauai, Hawaii

  • Scott Edelman

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Edelman, a top studio-side litigator, spent much of the year preparing to defend NBC in a profit-participation suit brought by now-deceased Knight Rider producer Glen Larson (it settled at the eleventh hour). He's also representing Sony and Dr. Luke's record company, Kemosabe, in its explosive battle with Kesha, in which the pop star has accused the producer of sexual abuse.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "My kids' elementary school, the Center for Early Education. We just had our retirement gala for our head of school, and Beyonce performed, and it was emceed by Billy Crystal and Will Ferrell. It's that type of school."

  • David Eisman

    Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Eisman helped UTA get more into the music business, representing the talent agency during its acquisition of The Agency Group in the summer. Six months earlier, he advised UTA when it raided rival CAA for 13 top comedy agents. He's also serving as counsel to Relativity and its co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh in their efforts to emerge from bankruptcy, and is helping Brett Ratner in his deal with Diageo to market a Hollywood-themed whiskey.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? "Telling policemen you are a fellow officer of the court before they write the ticket works 60 percent of the time."

  • Craig A. Emanuel

    Loeb & Loeb

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Monash University School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS As Ryan Murphy's television and film empire expands, so too does his lawyer's title (this year Emanuel became a managing partner of his firm's expansive Los Angeles office). He helped Murphy launch Scream Queens on Fox, which will receive a second season, and he set up The People v. O.J. Simpson as an FX anthology series to be overseen by Murphy (a second round of American Crime Story, about Hurricane Katrina, is in the works). Emanuel also reps Ilya Naishuller, the filmmaker behind the STX horror film Hardcore Henry.

    I COLLECT … "Beatles memorabilia."

  • Matthew Erramouspe

    O'Melveny & Myers

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Erramouspe represents clients on both sides of the Pacific. He's helping Chinese company Alibaba become a major player in Hollywood (starting with investments in Paramount films, including Star Trek: Beyond and TMNT2). And he's helping Hollywood make movies for the Chinese marketplace, negotiating for Warner Bros. in its Flagship Entertainment joint venture with China Media Capital, which will focus on creating Chinese-language tentpoles.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Leland McKenzie of L.A. Law — he'd sail through a confirmation hearing."

  • James Feldman

    Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler & Feldman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Seeing client Josh Singer win the Oscar for co-writing Spotlight was a nice moment for Feldman; the two had gone to college and law school together, and it was Feldman who passed along one of Singer's early scripts when the latter decided to become a screenwriter. Now Feldman has his friend writing biopics about Neil Armstrong (for Whiplash director Damien Chazelle) and Leonard Bernstein (for Martin Scorsese). He also reps Kiefer Sutherland, who scored perhaps this pilot season's biggest deal to return to TV in ABC's Designated Survivor.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "Talking to you on a headset right now."

  • Patti Felker

    Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS Felker extended TV producer Greg Berlanti's production deal at Warner Bros. Television by another three years. She also forged Vin Diesel's rich deal to star in and produce both Fast 8 at Universal and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage for Paramount, and inked an agreement for Zac Efron to join Dwayne Johnson in Paramount's Baywatch movie. Other clients: Lex Luthor Jesse Eisenberg and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Atticus Finch, until you found out he became a bigot in the sequel."

  • Bert Fields

    Greenberg Glusker

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS After all these years, a Bert Fields letter is still a pretty scary thing to find in your mailbox. He continues to wage battles for such clients as Tom Cruise, James Cameron, Sumner Redstone's former companion Manuela Herzer and, recently, Irwin Winkler, whom Fields repped in a case against Warner Bros. for profits from Goodfellas (the case settled earlier this month).

    GOOD LUCK CHARM "Green underwear."

  • Sam Fischer

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Fischer sealed Matt Damon's deal for July's Bourne sequel as well as Simon Cowell's to take Howard Stern's chair as a judge on the Cowell-owned America's Got Talent. He also advised Chernin Entertainment on extending its film deal with Fox (while also striking a new, separate two-year deal for its television division with NBCUniversal) and represented Lloyd Braun's Whalerock Industries in a deal with GF Capital to create online "media hubs" for celebrities like the Kardashians.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Vincent 'Vinny' Gambini [from My Cousin Vinny]."

  • David Fox

    Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Western State College of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS After client Christopher McQuarrie proved 53-year-old Tom Cruise could make $600 million with Paramount's fifth Mission: Impossible movie, Fox negotiated the writer-director's deal to make a sixth. He also is continuing to expand Fast and Furious filmmaker James Wan's empire, signing him to direct Aquaman and Robotech as well as produce a TV reboot of MacGyver.

    BEST MEAL I'VE EXPENSED "In-N-Out. You said 'best,' not most expensive."

  • Russell Frackman

    Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia University School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS He represented the major record labels in bicoastal legal fights with SiriusXM and Pandora over their use of pre-1972 sound recordings, which aren't protected by federal copyright law. Both cases settled, resulting in a haul of about $300 million for the labels. Frackman also is repping Capitol Records and EMI Music Publishing in related infringement cases against Vimeo and has another case on behalf of the labels against Amway Corp. involving the company's use of sound recordings in online videos.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Matlock."

  • Bryan Freedman

    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."

  • Matt Galsor

    Greenberg Glusker

    Courtesy of Greenburg Glusker

    ALMA MATER Columbia University School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Working closely with Bert Fields, Galsor makes deals for such heavyweights as David Fincher, James Cameron and Tom Cruise (he worked on Cruise's pact to star in Universal's Mummy reboot, which will launch the studio's Monsters universe). He also handled Studio Canal's deal for the 3D rerelease of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, writer Ernest Cline's pact to turn his book Ready Player One into a Steven Spielberg film and has a hand in all of Ubisoft's game-to-film adaptations (including Assassin's Creed, out at Christmas).

    IF I COULD REPRESENT ANY 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, IT WOULD BE "Larry David."

  • John Gatti

    Manatt Phelps & Phillips

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS The estate of Roy Rogers enlisted this copyright gunslinger in a case against a European jeans company — calling itself Roy Roger's — that has been trying to expand into the U.S. He also is representing Columbia Pictures and MGM in a collective bargaining dispute with the American Federation of Musicians, is repping Fox in a licensing dispute with a San Diego TV station over The Simpsons and is advising Stan Lee's company POW! Entertainment.

    BEST MEAL I'VE EXPENSED "Totoraku. It's a private restaurant on Pico. You have to be invited by the chef. It's the best meat I've ever had."

  • Michael Gendler

    Gendler & Kelly

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Gendler's fingerprints can be found all over the TV dial. Clients include showrunners Shonda Rhimes, Kurt Sutter, Howard Gordon and David E. Kelley. He negotiated Alex Kurtzman's deal to bring Star Trek back for CBS' All Access streamer and David Schwimmer's to play Robert Kardashian in FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Other clients: Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Chris Pine and Rob Marshall.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Alicia Florrick from The Good Wife."

  • Cliff Gilbert-Lurie

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Gilbert-Lurie negotiated longtime client Dick Wolf's new five-year deal with NBC, which includes renewals for Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med, as well as commitments for new projects, including reality shows (Law & Order: You the Jury). He continues to rep Tina Fey and Sandra Bullock as well as Imagine Entertainment, helping seal a deal for the Raine Group's $100 million investment. (He also reps THR's parent company in deals.)

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "Some of my clients actually call me 'Cliffy baby.' "

  • Patty Glaser

    Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Rutgers School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS One of Hollywood's toughest litigators is defending Morgan Creek in a $10 million breach of contract suit by producer Emmett Furla over the long-in-the-works Tupac Shakur biopic (Furla is accusing Morgan Creek of moving ahead with casting and budgeting without his approval). She also represented exec David Neuman when he sued former model Michael Egan — and won — after Egan accused Neuman and others (including director Bryan Singer) of sexually abusing him as a teen.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? "It's stupid to argue. You have to admit you've done something wrong and beg. I've done that."

  • Carlos Goodman

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Quentin Tarantino's longtime lawyer picked up two new directing clients this year: Alex Garland (Ex Machina) and Damian Szifron (Wild Tales). Client Darren Aronofsky is shooting an untitled Jennifer Lawrence movie for Paramount Pictures, while Christian Bale scored another Academy Award nomination for his supporting role in The Big Short, and Jake Gyllenhaal has a trio of new projects: a Boston Marathon drama, a Ryan Reynolds space epic titled Life and Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals.

    IF I COULD REPRESENT ANY 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, IT WOULD BE "No one. I'm like the little girl on YouTube who found out Obama can't run again — I'm just not ready to let go."

  • Joshua Grode

    Irell & Manella

    Courtesy of sUBJECT

    ALMA MATER Loyola Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS The biggest challenge for Grode in representing Wanda Group in its $3.5 billion acquisition of Legendary Entertainment in January? The time difference. “Our calls with Wanda would start at 5 p.m. and go until 1 a.m.,” says the dealmaker. This year, Grode also represented Miramax in its sale to Qatar’s Bein Media Group, and he helped the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a $341 million tax exempt bond to fund its new Oscar museum.

    CHILDHOOD HERO “I wanted to be Han Solo so badly, I’d walk around in a Han Solo-style vest. I’m such a Star Wars geek that I took my entire department to go see The Force Awakens on opening day. I paid for everybody’s tickets, but the catch was that you had to dress up in costume. I was Boba Fett.”

  • Allen Grubman

    Grubman Shire & Meiselas

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Brooklyn Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS The New York powerhouse long has represented such pop music giants as Bruce Springsteen and Elton John and such top executives as CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves, but this year Grubman added two 21st century musical biggies: Spotify (he helped the company close its largest round of financing ever, securing $1 billion in capital) and The Weeknd (who achieved two No. 1 hits in 2015 as well as a No. 1 album and won two Grammy Awards).

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE “We bought Sue Mengers’ house.”

  • Tom Hansen

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Hansen is best known for making longtime client Robert Downey Jr. the highest paid actor in Hollywood. But this year, he also dabbled in corporate transactions, handling the sale of James “Baby Doll” Dixon’s Dixon Talent to WME. He’s also helping Jon Stewart create a content company (there’s a deal with HBO Go), and he helped Trigger Street producers Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti take over the bankrupt Relativity Media (in the end, only Brunetti would go on to become president of Relativity).

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? “I tried once and almost got arrested.”

  • Charles Harder

    Harder Mirell & Abrams

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Loyola Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Harder acted as lead counsel for Hulk Hogan in his headline-grabbing case against Gawker for publishing a personal sex tape. A Florida jury shocked the media world by awarding Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) $140.1 million in damages. Other clients: Lena Dunham, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Claire Danes, Cameron Diaz, Michael J. Fox, Kate Hudson, Patrick Stewart and producer Dick Wolf.

    BEST MEAL I’VE EXPENSED “The Hulk Hogan verdict celebration dinner. We ordered lots of food. It was excellent, but we hardly ate any — we were too excited — and mostly just drank champagne."

  • David Hernand

    Paul Hastings

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Georgetown University Law Center

    WHY HE MATTERS A corporate lawyer with digital media chops, Hernand represented DreamWorks Animation in its sale of 49 percent of AwesomenessTV to Hearst and Verizon. He also handled investments by Viacom, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Advance Publications in client DigiTour, known for its touring social media and music festival. And he hooked up Shaquille O’Neal with the Authentic Brands Group for a multimillion-dollar endorsement and merchandising deal.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE “My kids have friends who live in houses with bowling alleys.”

  • Ken Hertz

    Hertz Lichtenstein & Young

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS The highlight of Hertz’s year: sending the manuscript of Molly’s Game — a 2014 memoir of a cocktail waitress who ended up running a Hollywood poker game for stars — to Aaron Sorkin. The Oscar winner liked it so much, he’s not only adapting the screenplay but also will make the project his directorial debut. This year, Hertz also structured a tour of Annie Leibovitz’s photography and helped launch Masterclass.com, an education site that allows students to interact online with learned celebrities like Kevin Spacey and Christina Aguilera.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT “Professor Charles Kingsfield Jr. [from The Paper Chase].”

  • Alan Hergott

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Northwestern University Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Like everybody else these days, Hergott has been striking deals with Netflix. But his are a bit bigger than most. The streaming service paid $60 million for client Brad Pitt’s War Machine, and client Neil Patrick Harris is shooting the fantasy series A Series of Unfortunate Events, while two of Hergott’s longtime clients, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and husband Frank Marshall (Jurassic World), happened to make the No. 1 and No. 2 top-grossing movies of 2015, respectively.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT The Grill on the Alley

  • Jim Jackoway

    Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Yale Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS He has been helping longtime client J.J. Abrams move deeper into the digital space (with Abrams’ Bad Robot producing 11.22.63, Hulu’s first major original drama) and finalized an extension of longtime client Seth MacFarlane’s deal with 20th Television. He also extended Mitch Hurwitz’s deal with Netflix for another season of Arrested Development (though scheduling conflicts among the cast might end up delaying its arrival), even as decades-long client David Letterman retired.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? “I got out of an illegal U-turn by noting that it was my first moving violation in 46 years. The officer didn’t want to ruin that run.”

  • Craig Jacobson

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER George Washington University Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Jacobson this year closed a flurry of deals for Ryan Seacrest: In addition to a reported $15 million pact for the final season of American Idol, there’s a new three-year deal with iHeartMedia that solidifies Seacrest’s reign across radio platforms (including his toprated morning show on Los Angeles’ KISS-FM). Jacobson also handled Ed Zwick’s return to directing (the Jack Reacher sequel Never Go Back) and Channing Tatum’s deals for X-Men spinoff Gambit and the Kingsman sequel.

    GOOD LUCK CHARM “Red pieces of yarn tied around my neck and wrist by Buddhist monks in Bhutan and Cambodia.”

  • Matthew Johnson

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER NYU School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS The Force is strong with this one: Johnson closed the deal for Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to direct the 2018 Star Wars spinoff about young Han Solo. He also represents Harvey, who had a pretty good year despite his Miss Universe slip-up, with deals for ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud and NBC’s recent hit Little Big Shots. Longtime client Tyler Perry has four shows on OWN and another Madea movie in the works.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? “I’m the president of the police commission for the city of Los Angeles. I’ve never done that.”

  • Neville Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Southwestern Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Johnson is representing three individuals who claim ABC’s hit drama Quantico was derived from the script and documentary they had been working on for more than a decade. Idea theft cases are notoriously difficult to win, but Johnson has a good track record in court, recently settling a class action lawsuit against Universal over home video money for $26 million.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? “Yes, I told the officer my old VW would not go as fast as he clocked me.”

  • Adam Kaller

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Whittier College School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Kaller has become a go-to talent lawyer for internet stars. His client list includes Cameron Dallas, Michelle Phan, Rhett & Link, Andrew Bachelor, Logan Paul, Fousey and scores of other top entertainers that nobody over the age of 35 ever has heard of. But he also represents old-fashioned content makers, helping producer Beau Flynn set up a Baywatch feature at Paramount and working on seven figure deals for NBC’s Chicago Fire creators Michael Brandt and Derek Haas as they build a spinoff empire.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT “The Grill. I could teach a semester-long course on the seating geography and political science of that place.”

  • Joel Katz

    Greenberg Traurig

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of Tennessee College of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS The music legend — who acts as general counsel for the Michael Jackson estate — recently closed the $750 million sale of Jackson’s 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing to Sony Corp. The Atlanta-based attorney also worked on the development of the Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood, Fla., and brokered a deal between the Berklee College of Music and the government of the Central West African nation of Gabon to build a pan-African music school, called the African Music Institute, in the Gabon capital Libreville.

    I COLLECT … “Davidoff Cuban cigars.”

  • Martin Katz

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of Michigan Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS The aggressive litigator’s big case now — scheduled to go to trial in May — is defending Harry Sloan’s Global Eagle Entertainment (the company that provides entertainment on commercial airlines) against Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, which both claim the company hijacked tunes without obtaining proper permission. In August, Katz is scheduled to go to trial to defend MGM against a distribution company that claims it’s still owed money for films it released decades earlier (including Sergio Leone’s 1966 Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 drama Last Tango in Paris).

    I COLLECT … “I have collected newspapers — with notorious headlines — since the [Robert F. Kennedy] days.”

  • Richard Kendall

    Kendall Brill & Kelly

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS The former federal prosecutor has represented such clients as Viacom, Paramount and NBCUniversal. But this year, he found himself embroiled — indirectly — in a messy divorce case, representing Dick Wolf’s late business manager, Robert Philpott, in a suit brought by Wolf’s ex-wife, who claimed that Philpott misled her into a divorce settlement worth less than it should have been. On April 16, Kendall won a summary judgment for Philpott.

    GOOD LUCK CHARM The suit he wore at the last argument he won.

  • Howard King

    King Holmes Paterno & Berliner

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS King is repping Jared Leto in a case against TMZ (over the posting of a video removed from the actor-musician’s studio) and is helping Rita Ora and Avenged Sevenfold find ways out of their record deals with Roc Nation and Warner Bros. Records. He also is trying to extricate singer Phillip Phillips from his American Idol deal, picked up Lil Wayne as a new client and is continuing his appeal of 2015’s big loss in the “Blurred Lines” case (he already has succeeded in having the $7.3 million jury verdict against clients Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke reduced by $2 million).

    GOOD LUCK CHARM “A tie from Harrods my wife bought me while I deposed Michael Jackson.”

  • Dale Kinsella

    Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS He’s representing producer Barry Josephson in his lawsuit against Fox over profits from the long-running hit series Bones as well as former Walking Dead executive producer Frank Darabont in his suit against AMC (Darabont claims the network licensed the series to itself for fees below market rates, cutting his potential profits). His big Godzilla case (he represented producers who claimed they were unfairly ousted from the 2014 film) was settled last summer.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT “James Woods in True Believer.”

  • Debbie Klein

    Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS She specializes in comics and comic book heroes. She repped Will Ferrell in three films this past year (Get Hard, Daddy’s Home and Zoolander 2) and brokered the deal for Paul Rudd to join the ensemble in Marvel Entertainment’s Captain America: Civil War as Avenger Ant-Man, out May 6 (he also will be reprising the role for 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp).

    LAST VACATION “The Maldives, the most amazing place ever.”

  • Ken Kleinberg

    Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Star client J.K. Rowling keeps Kleinberg hopping like a house elf. The veteran dealmaker negotiated her ninefigure deal with Universal Studios to set up Harry Potter theme park attractions in Florida, Japan and Los Angeles as well as Rowling’s producing and screenwriting deals for Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He also represented Mick Jagger in the rock star’s deals to produce HBO’s Vinyl series and a slew of Paula Wagner projects not involving her former partner Tom Cruise (including one about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall).

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT Wilfrid Roberts [Charles Laughton] in Witness for the Prosecution.

  • Michael Kump

    Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of Michigan Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Kump, whose clients range from Michael Keaton to practically the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan, believes an ounce of prevention is worth hundreds of billable hours. “Before any litigation is filed, I talk to my clients about how to structure their business deals,” he explains of his lawsuit-avoidance strategy. But when he does go to court, he tends to win. He recently prevailed for client WME after a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against the agency alleging Fox’s New Girl had been plagiarized.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT “My desk.”

  • David Lande

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of Pennsylvania Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS In addition to Beyonce’s blockbuster new deal with Columbia Records, Lande negotiated her Formation stadium tour (it already has sold 2 million tickets). He also cut Shakira’s deal for her voice role in Disney’s Zootopia and structured Justin Timberlake’s for DreamWorks’ upcoming Trolls (he will voice a lead character, write original songs and executive produce the soundtrack).

    LAST VACATION “Biking trip in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. We rode through jungles, rice paddies, coconut groves and small villages.”

  • Christine Lepera

    Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER New York Law School

    WHY SHE MATTERS Lepera has made headlines by defending music producer Dr. Luke in pop star Kesha’s effort to escape a record contract by alleging he raped her (a judge dismissed key claims April 6). She defended Jay Z and Timbaland in a copyright infringement claim over their song “Big Pimpin’ ” (the eight-year battle came to an end in October, with a judge ruling in favor of the defendants) and repped music publisher Protoons in a tussle over the copyright of an Run-DMC song (Protoons got $1.4 million in damages).

    LAST VACATION Vietnam

  • Linda Lichter

    Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler & Feldman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS Client Linda Woolverton — who wrote the screenplays for Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King — remains a key member of Disney’s talent stable, signing on to write the script for Maleficent 2. Lichter also represents director Susanne Bier, whose BBC miniseries The Night Manager made the jump to the U.S. on AMC.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE “My Tesla.”

  • Steve Marenberg

    Irell & Manella

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of Chicago Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Marenberg does a lot of work defending studios in profit disputes. But this year, he has been defending UTA in an antitrust case alleging that it conspired with other agencies through packaging deals to corner the scripted television market. Every time the complaint gets amended, it grows more complicated — even the hot topic of diversity in Hollywood has become part of the case.

    LAST VACATION Val d’Orcia in Tuscany

  • Kevin Marks

    Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS That thank-you scroll on the bottom of your television screen during this year’s Oscars? If you didn’t blink, you might have caught Marks’ name while client Alejandro G. Inarritu accepted his best director statuette for The Revenant. “My wife and I were the only ones that noticed,” he jokes. Along with representing Inarritu and other top filmmakers like David O. Russell, Marks works with the Broccoli family, controllers of the James Bond franchise (he was part of the team that got back rights to the characters of Spectre and Blofeld after a decades-long legal battle).

    GOOD LUCK CHARM “After winning a big case, Tom Waits gave me a pocket knife, which I keep in my desk drawer. I call it Alternative Dispute Resolution.”

  • Mickey Mayerson

    Loeb & Loeb

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Mayerson used to help banks find ways to spend money in Hollywood. Nowadays, he’s more about helping filmmakers find banks. He secured financing for client Warren Beatty’s much anticipated biopic of Howard Hughes and also had a hand in the financing of Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle’s movie about Miles Davis, and Truth, James Vanderbilt’s film about Dan Rather.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT “I had lunch with Warren Beatty at The Apple Pan, and it was great.”

  • Joel McKuin

    McKuin Frankel Whitehead

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Longtime client Kristen Stewart stars in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society (it’ll open Cannes this year) and opposite Chloe Sevigny in a biopic of Lizzie Borden. He also helped Fargo exec producer Noah Hawley sign a three-year deal with FX Productions that includes a third season of the show and a limited series based on Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle.

    IF I COULD REPRESENT ANY 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, IT WOULD BE “I’d package them all into The Surreal Life: White House Edition.”

  • Darrell Miller

    Fox Rothschild

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Georgetown University Law Center

    WHY HE MATTERS Miller represents top African-American talent. He negotiated a deal for Angela Bassett to make her directorial debut with a Whitney Houston television biopic and inked deals for Reggie Hudlin to produce the Academy Awards telecast, Courtney B. Vance to play Johnnie Cochran in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Cheo Hodari Coker to become the first black writer/executive producer in a Marvel Comics property, as showrunner for the Luke Cage series on Netflix.

    IF I COULD REPRESENT ANY 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, IT WOULD BE “Bernie Sanders. I would do a buddy movie with Sanders and Larry David, a Thelma & Louise movie where they’re out to change corporate America. That to me would be comedy gold.”

  • Schuyler Moore

    Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Moore represents a number of Chinese companies — Alibaba Pictures, Pegasus Media Group, Leomus Pictures — doing business in Hollywood. Recent deals include multiyear film slate financings between Hunan Group and Lionsgate as well as Perfect World Pictures and Universal. He’s also (sort of) an actor: He had a role in a Chinese co-production titled Come Across Love. (His character commits suicide.)

    I COLLECT … “Vintage motorcycles — 10.”

  • Kevin Morris

    Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman

    ALMA MATER NYU School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the gift that keep giving — Morris extended the Comedy Central cartoon for three more seasons (while also signing a $192 million deal with Hulu). He represents Matthew McConaughey in rich movie deals and an even richer endorsement pact with Lincoln, but his real claim to fame is that he is a published author — Morris’ first novel, All Joe Knight, is set for release in December.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT “It’s between Kyle’s father on South Park and Danny Buck, McConaughey’s character in Bernie.”

  • Bob Myman

    Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Myman recently handled Billy Bob Thornton’s deal for Bad Santa 2, Benjamin Bratt’s for Ride Along 2 and Maria Bello’s for the Amazon series The Trial. Other clients include Jaime King, Ted Allen (who has a new overall deal at Food Network) and The Leftovers mastermind Damon Lindelof. Myman also negotiated Bob Nelson’s deal for writing and directing the Clive Owen feature The Confirmation.

    BEST MEAL I’VE EXPENSED “With Bill Clinton at the old Hamburger Hamlet in Brentwood.”

  • Peter Nelson

    Nelson Davis

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Hastings College of the Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Nelson has what he calls his “fab four” television clients: Stana Katic (Castle), Tea Leoni (Madam Secretary), Allison Janney (Mom) and David Duchovny (The X-Files, Aquarius). But his big-screen clients are pretty fab, too, like Peter Jackson (currently developing two top-secret projects) and Edgar Wright (shooting Baby Driver with Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm).

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT “Corbin Bernsen’s Arnie Becker on L.A. Law.”

  • Jeanne Newman

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS Netflix heard a lot from Newman this year as she helped Drew Goddard launch Daredevil (now in its second season on the streamer), Melissa Rosenberg start Jessica Jones and Amy Sherman and Dan Palladino revive Gilmore Girls on the streaming service for four 90-minute episodes. She also helped reality show production giant Endemol Shine launch Hunted on CBS and crafted an overall deal with Fox for Empire co-creator Lee Daniels.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE “My house was built by Cedric Gibbons for his then-wife Dolores del Rio.”

  • Pierce O’Donnell

    Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Georgetown University Law Center

    WHY HE MATTERS O’Donnell got a lot of attention in 2014 when he pushed through Donald Sterling’s sale of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. But other high-profile cases also have kept him in the spotlight. In 2015, he won a groundbreaking judgment for Shelly Sterling from her husband’s mistress, recovering a $1.8 million home and $800,000 worth of cash the woman had been given during the affair with Donald. O’Donnell now is representing Sumner Redstone’s former companion Manuela Herzer in her suit over control of the media mogul’s health care.

    I COLLECT … “Do ex-wives count?”

  • Robert Offer

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Offer closed a rich overall deal between Michael Bay and Paramount, mapping out the future of the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises. He got Angelina Jolie creative control with a Netflix deal to direct First They Killed My Father. On the acting side, he negotiated a multipicture deal for Benedict Cumberbatch to play Doctor Strange, got Ryan Gosling into the Blade Runner sequel and Oscar winner Brie Larson into her Room follow-up, The Glass Castle.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT “Paul Newman from 1982’s The Verdict.”

  • Charles Ortner

    Proskauer Rose

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Brooklyn Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS As legal counsel for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Ortner handled actions against brokers who were selling unauthorized tickets to the Grammy Awards show and even Grammy statuettes. His 2015 docket also had him representing such clients as Lady Gaga and Madonna in copyright disputes.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? “I was speeding down the 405 freeway at 90 miles per hour, and the CHP pulled me over. I told them my 90-year-old aunt needed to go to the bathroom. I pointed to her, and the officer said: ‘Get going, quickly.’ So I guess the best defense is an old lady who needs a bathroom.”

  • Jodi Peikoff

    Peikoff Mahan

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Cardozo Law

    WHY SHE MATTERS The New York dealmaker helped Rylance — one of the great stage actors of his generation and fresh off his Oscar win for Bridge of Spies — sign co-starring pacts for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Steven Spielberg’s next two films, Ready Player One and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. She also negotiated a mid-eight-figure deal for clients Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to write the songs for Frozen 2 (and a potential high-eight-figure deal for a stage adaptation). She signed hot actor Ezra Miller to two franchises for Warner Bros. — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Flash — and closed a seven-figure deal for Tilda Swinton to join Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Oh, and client Felicity Jones is starring in December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE “Having four college educated assistants tracking down my reading glasses.”

  • Daniel Petrocelli

    O’Melveny & Myers

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Southwestern University School of Law

    During a February debate in Houston, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio took a shot at rival Donald Trump: “There are people who borrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University, and they’re suing now — $36,000 to go to a university that’s a fake school.” Three days later, Trump, stung by the attack, took aim at the judge handling the case, in which thousands of former students claim they were duped into taking out loans to pay for worthless seminars bearing the GOP frontrunner’s name. “It has to do with I’m very, very strong on the border,” Trump said of U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel. “Now, he is Hispanic, I believe. He is a very hostile judge to me.”

    Daniel Petrocelli bursts out laughing at the memory. As Trump’s lead lawyer in the case, Petrocelli, 62, faced Curiel in a San Diego courtroom just days later after his client’s incendiary comments. “Trump is a very opinionated guy,” Petrocelli says with a wry smile. “Yeah, it was certainly unusual. I think the judge recognizes the rhetoric that takes place in politics is not for the courtroom, and I think he’s separated the two.”

  • Michael Plonsker

    Plonsker Law

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER University of Illinois College of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS A top copyright specialist and problem-solver, Plonsker defended writer-director Nacho Vigalondo and Voltage Pictures from Japan-based Toho, which sued to make sure the big green guy in Vigalondo’s upcoming Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway, wasn’t too similar to Godzilla (the parties settled out of court). Plonsker also represented the heirs of Leonard Freeman in litigation over CBS’ reboot of Hawaii Five-0, the television show he created in 1968.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT In-N-Out Burger

  • Bruce Ramer

    Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Hollywood clients don’t get bigger than Steven Spielberg, whom Ramer has represented since before Jaws. Another signature Ramer client, Clint Eastwood, is back this fall directing Sully, about the pilot (played by Tom Hanks) who safely landed a plane on the Hudson River in 2009. And Ramer has used his position running one of the town’s top talent boutiques to curate the annual USC entertainment law symposium and host its keynote talk with such execs as Disney’s Bob Iger and Warner Bros.’ Kevin Tsujihara.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT “Henry Drummond from Inherit the Wind.”

  • Ken Richman

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS A television deal specialist, Richman recently signed Bill Simmons, helping him piece together his post-ESPN life with an expansive pact at HBO and a new website called The Ringer. Richman also made Samantha Bee’s deal for her TBS late-night show Full Frontal and Jason Jones’ pact for his TBS show The Detour, as well as Parks and Recreation’s Mike Schur’s rich overall deal at Universal TV, where Schur has the upcoming NBC show Good Place, starring Kristen Bell.

    LAST VACATION “Australia with my wife and kids. I loved it.”

  • Lawrence Rose

    Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS If Rose did nothing but represent Stephen King — upcoming projects include a Shining sequel, a Firestarter remake, The Dark Tower (now shooting with Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba), a limited series with David E. Kelley titled Mr. Mercedes and a Christine remake — he'd have too much to do. But he also reps Ben Stiller (Rose helped him move his production company from Legendary TV to Bold Films), Chris Carter ("everybody has expressed interest in continuing," says Rose of the X-Files revival) and Cameron Crowe (who's working on his new Showtime series, Roadies).

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "President Underwood from House of Cards."

  • Nancy Rose

    Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER George Washington University Law School 

    WHY SHE MATTERS As Miranda's attorney, Rose has been involved in nearly every detail of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway smash Hamilton, from securing rights to the Ron Chernow book to clearances for the hip-hop references in the music to cast contracts and even negotiating the deal for the new Hamilton book. "It's certainly been the biggest deal on my desk," she says. But not the only one. She also helped showrunner Sarah Treem (The Affair) renegotiate her deal at Showtime and reps showrunners Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Steve Bodow (The Daily Show) and Scott Carter (Real Time With Bill Maher).

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, and not the sequel."

  • Mathew Rosengart

    Greenberg Traurig

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Boston College Law School 

    WHY HE MATTERS Representing Sean Penn never is boring. One day Rosengart is filing a bold defamation lawsuit for the actor against Empire co-creator Lee Daniels over Daniels' suggestion in a THR profile that Penn committed domestic abuse (a charge the actor vehemently denies). Another day he's counseling Penn before his big trip to Mexico to interview drug lord El Chapo. And yet another day he's dealing with the fallout from a Rolling Stone piece Penn wrote about El Chapo and prepping him to explain himself on 60 Minutes. Other clients of the former federal prosecutor include Patricia Arquette and Michael Mann.

    OUTSIDE THE OFFICE, I’M MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT "Tennis!"

  • Gretchen Rush

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA Law School

    WHY SHE MATTERS Working closely with mentor Steve Warren, Rush closed Jennifer Lawrence's reported $20 million deal to star with Chris Pratt in Sony's big-budget sci-fi film Passengers, helmed by The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum (and before that her deal for David O. Russell's Joy). She also repped Kerry Washington in her deal to produce and star in HBO's Confirmation and helped client Lena Dunham launch her femme-centric e-newsletter Lenny.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Elle Woods from the film Legally Blonde."

  • Michael Schenkman

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS He's the Nolan family lawyer, repping Christopher (for executive producing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as directing his upcoming World War II film Dunkirk) and Jonathan (a writer-producer on CBS' Person of Interest and HBO's upcoming Westworld). He also reps Geoffrey Rush (who will star in another Pirates of the Caribbean film with Johnny Depp in 2017).

    OUTSIDE THE OFFICE, I'M MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT "Close tie between L.A. Kings, paddle tennis and avoiding Chipotle."

  • Ira Schreck

    Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Schreck spent much of the past year juggling Kevin Hart deals — for such films as Central Intelligence (with Dwayne Johnson) and The Intouchables (with Bryan Cranston), plus another season of his hit BET series Real Husbands of Hollywood and a third stand-up movie, Kevin Hart: What Now?. But he also reps showrunner clients — including Jason Katims (Hulu's The Path), Peter Tolan (WGN America's Outsiders) and Bridget Carpenter (Hulu's 11.22.63) — and negotiated the deal to bring 15-year Daily Show veteran Jo Miller aboard Samantha Bee's TBS show.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "I would rather take a few of the current justices and turn them into fictional characters!"

  • Robert Schwartz

    Irell & Manella

    Courtesy of sUBJECT

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS In May 2015, Schwartz made the jump from longtime home O'Melveny & Myers to Irell & Manella, where he finished his successful defense of Hulu in a privacy class-action suit. At his new firm, he has picked up new client CBS Radio, charged with not pay­ing royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings. He's also handling a cutting-edge privacy case involving biometric data collected when video games allow users to create avatars from photographs.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? "I was speeding back to L.A. from Mammoth. When the CHP pulled me over, I pointed to an ice pack on my left shoulder — I had dislocated it in a collision with a snowboarder. He let me go, saying he was impressed that I was wearing my seat belt over the injury."

  • P.J. Shapiro

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Shapiro negotiated Josh Gad's voice acting deal for the Frozen sequel and Dakota Johnson's full-body acting deal for two Fifty Shades of Grey sequels. He also put together pacts for the members of The Lonely Island (Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone) for their first feature film, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, helped Elizabeth Banks make her successful transition into a director-producer with Pitch Perfect 2 (she'll also direct a new Charlie's Angels film) and set Emma Stone to star in Disney's live-action Cruella film.

    GOOD LUCK CHARM "A box of silver dollars given to me years ago by my dad."

  • Nina Shaw

    Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia Law School

    WHY SHE MATTERS Shaw counts the elevation of Misty Copeland to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre as one of her proudest moments (second place: signing Copeland to her Under Armour deal). During the past year she also took pride in helping client F. Gary Gray get the directing job on Universal's Fast 8. Other top clients include Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) and Selma director Ava DuVernay.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Jackie Chiles, the parody of Johnnie Cochran on Seinfeld."

  • Martin Singer

    Lavely & Singer

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Brooklyn Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Singer parted ways in 2015 with longtime client Bill Cosby — Christopher Tayback of Quinn Emanuel now rides shotgun in the alleged sexual assault scandal — giving the noted pit bull more time to administer to other headline-grabbing clients like Charlie Sheen (Singer scored a victory by compelling Sheen's ex-fiancee, porn star Brett Rossi, to accept arbitration in a lawsuit against the actor for not disclosing his HIV diagnosis). He also scored $5 million for Bruce Willis from Benaroya Pictures, which shut down the Willis-starring Wake during filming because of financial troubles, and filed a $15 million lawsuit on behalf of Sofia Vergara against a cosmetics maker she alleges used her name and likeness without permission to promote a skin-tightening treatment.

    LAST VACATION "Seabourn Mediterranean cruise in France, Italy and Malta celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary."

  • Jason Sloane

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Sloane can add Chris Pratt to his growing collection of superhero clients (which also includes Chris Evans, Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender). But he also reps clients who might not look so hot in Spandex, like The Late Late Show host James Corden. Sloane helped Will Smith make his next film, Bright, for Netflix, and as Mark Wahlberg's longtime lawyer he has a hand in a new family restaurant business, Wahlburgers.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "I have a meditation coach."

  • Larry Stein

    Liner

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Stein, a top talent-side litigator, recently sued Bauer Publishing for defamation on behalf of The Voice coach Blake Shelton over an InTouch magazine cover story with the headline "The Real Story, Rehab for Blake." The case is pending in federal court. He also knocked back a libel case against rapper Drake filed by distributors of the 2015 documentary Drake's Homecoming: The Lost Footage — shot in 2009 — which Drake has snubbed on Twitter. (The distributor has appealed.)

    LAST VACATION Maui

  • Doug Stone

    Stone Genow Smelkinson Binder & Christopher

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Stone's firm split from longtime partner Neil Meyer during the past year but continues going strong. He reps Daniel Craig, who might or might not return as James Bond after Spectre. And longtime producer client Dean Devlin is back with Fox's Independence Day: Resurgence, set to open June 24. Stone also inked Sony executive turned Concussion producer Elizabeth Cantillon a new three-year first-look deal at the studio.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "Lunching at The Grill."

  • Richard Stone

    Jenner & Block

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Loyola Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS After putting digital TV distributor Aereo out of business via litigation, Stone — husband of Fox Networks Group executive vp and general counsel Rita Tuzon, THR's 2016 Raising the Bar honoree — is representing Fox Television Stations in a case against FilmOn (later known as BarryDriller.com), a website run by professional provocateur Alki David, in a similar copyright dispute. The copyright expert also is defending WME-IMG against NCAA athletes demanding compensation for their participation in televised games.

    HAVE YOU EVER ARGUED YOUR WAY OUT OF A TRAFFIC TICKET? "I never talked my way out of a ticket, but I did rear-end an accident reconstructionist once. I settled quickly out of court — you have to know when to fold 'em."

  • Matthew Thompson

    Sidley Austin

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Hastings College of the Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Thompson advised client Mark Burnett in the $233 million sale of his remaining interest in United Artists Media Group to MGM, for which Burnett was given equity in the studio and was retained as president of television and digital. He also guided Entertainment One through a series of strategic acquisitions and deals to grow the business, including a distribution agreement and investment in Steven Spielberg's newly formed Amblin Partners.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "Our nanny has her own private credit card on our account."

  • Fred Toczek

    Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Clients Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg kept Toczek on his toes during the past year as the duo branched into television with Preacher for AMC, Future Man for Hulu and The Boys for Cinemax (that's on top of Rogen's movie deals for Neighbors 2 and The Something). Toczek also helped Jon Bokenkamp, creator of NBC's The Blacklist, get a spinoff off the ground and negotiated for Shailene Woodley to star in The Divergent Series: Ascendant and David E. Kelley's HBO series Big Little Lies.

    LAST VACATION Israel

  • Stephen Tsoneff

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Tsoneff was Universal's mouthpiece in its distribution pact with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners, the new joint venture of DreamWorks and Participant. He also repped the studio in its $500 million slate financing deal with China's Perfect World Pictures, Hollywood's largest arrangement with a private Chinese entity. Tsoneff worked on the licensing pact for the first Fox-branded resort, set to open in Dubai in 2018.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT "Gelson's at the [Westfield] Century City mall. My wife is the Gelson's dietician, so I have to put in a plug for her salads!"

  • Steve Warren

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS The contract for Leonardo DiCaprio to star in The Revenant was complicated — "a deal worthy of the film," says Warren — but it ended with the star finally winning an Oscar. Warren and colleague Gretchen Rush set up Jennifer Lawrence for Sony's Passengers (she's getting $20 million and 30 percent of gross after break-even) and have helped Charlize Theron solidify her action-star status with deals for Mad Max: Fury Road and a lead role in the upcoming Fast 8.

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT Bouchon in Beverly Hills

  • David Weber

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Weber's pay-per-episode business model for Louis C.K.'s web series Horace and Pete (it cost $5 a download) turned the industry on its head (and had plenty of people scratching theirs). He also cut deals for Jean-Marc Vallee to direct two new HBO dramas (Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects) and represented the cast and creators of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for seasons 13 and 14. On the film side, Weber repped Suicide Squad director David Ayer with his follow-up film, the cop thriller Bright, which went to Netflix after a heated bidding war.

    OUTSIDE THE OFFICE, I'M MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT "Finding out-of-the-way natural spaces in L.A. without good cell reception."

  • Howard Weitzman

    Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER USC School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS Even in death, Michael Jackson keeps his litigator busy. On behalf of the Jackson estate, Weitzman is battling the IRS, Quincy Jones, a publicist, a business manager, a choreographer, another songwriter and a collector of the singer's memorabilia. The estate finally is in the black thanks to a $750 mil­lion deal to offload Jackson's half of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing library, so Weitzman is looking to protect incoming money for the singer's children. He also is Justin Bieber's go-to attorney (with partner Jeremiah Reynolds) on matters ranging from an altercation with a paparazzo to a claim that the 2010 song "Somebody to Love," by Bieber and Usher, was stolen. The latter is headed to trial this year.

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Denny Crane from Boston Legal."

  • Alan Wertheimer

    Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Stanford Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Wertheimer's client J.J. Abrams directed the biggest film of the past year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (nearly $2.1 bil­lion and counting). He helped Amy Pascal make the transition from Sony chairman to Ghostbusters producer and inked directing deals for Patty Jenkins to make Wonder Woman, James Foley for two Fifty Shades of Grey sequels and David Michod for War Machine with Brad Pitt for Netflix. Plus, the softball-loving "Werth" helped star Kyle MacLachlan land his deal to return to Twin Peaks after more than 20 years.

    I COLLECT … "Vintage cars and Stickley furniture."

  • Alonzo Wickers

    Davis Wright Tremaine

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS A rare First Amendment specialist who also can litigate a case, Wickers is defending Electronic Arts from NFL players who don't want their faces depicted in EA's video games (the Jim Brown case is in its eighth year). In addition to doing clearance work for Viacom, he has been repping Universal in a case involving the ex-wife of a true-life character portrayed in the upcoming Tom Cruise movie Mena. (Wickers also does First Amendment work for THR.)

    FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT "Officine Brera — as of last week."

  • Bryan Wolf

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Wolf guided Relativity Television's management team — Tom Forman and Andrew Marcus — through the dark days of bankruptcy protection, ultimately leading them to the creation and financing of their new company, Critical Content. Other clients include Steve Carell, Judd Apatow, Nick Stoller (with a deal to write, direct and produce Neighbors 2 as well as Warner Animation Group's Storks) and Skydance's David Ellison (help­ing him expand into TV with shows like Grace and Frankie).

    FICTIONAL LAWYER I WOULD NOMINATE FOR THE SUPREME COURT "Tom Hagen, the family lawyer in The Godfather."

  • Kevin Yorn

    Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Tulane Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS Yorn negotiated a new deal with NBC and Warner Bros. for megaclient Ellen DeGeneres that extends her show through 2020 (and he's a partner in her home decor/apparel line, ED, negotiating deals with Bed Bath & Beyond and other retailers). He also has done multiple deals for Zoe Saldana (the Avatar sequels) and Scarlett Johansson (Avengers, Ghost in the Shell). "My superhero franchise girls," he calls them. Yorn signed The Fault in Our Stars breakout Ansel Elgort and shepherded him into Baby Driver, opposite Kevin Spacey.

    OUTSIDE THE OFFICE, I'M MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT "Raising my daughter."

  • Jonathan Zavin

    Loeb & Loeb

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Columbia Law School

    WHY HE MATTERS A top copyright litigator, Zavin works mostly with studios and networks — like Fox, for which he won $500,000 in attorney fees when a judge ruled against two screenwriters who claimed the concept for New Girl had been stolen. He also is representing Paramount and CBS in a copyright infringement suit against the producers of a film based on Star Trek fan fiction.

    I COLLECT … "Wine — only for the purpose of drinking."

  • Ken Ziffren

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UCLA School of Law

    WHY HE MATTERS As L.A.'s film czar, the legendary talent lawyer and UCLA professor represents the entire industry on important state issues like film tax credits. He still has plenty of regular clients, though, including Starz, RealD and Iconix/Peanuts, the Schultz family company that partnered with Fox for November's The Peanuts Movie. Looking ahead to his legacy, Ziffren recently gave $5 million to his alma mater UCLA to start up the Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law.

    GOOD LUCK CHARM Ellen Ziffren

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