Power Lawyers: Talent Dealmakers

Gross points, rich backends and franchise hunting: These attorneys for A-list stars keep them in the stratosphere

Karl Austen
Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

If you've been to a film premiere, you've no doubt bumped into Austen, whose tireless networking and killer work ethic have paid off with a client roster packed with fresh talent. That includes Kristen Wiig, whose mega-grossing Bridesmaids, which she co-wrote and starred in, has turned the SNL regular into a hot film commodity; Jonah Hill, next seen in Moneyball, who booked two starring gigs (The Sitter and 21 Jump Street, both of which he'll executive produce as well as topline); and Joseph Gordon-Levitt of Premium Rush and The Dark Knight Rises. On the TV front, client Whitney Cummings wrote two pilots this season, and -- amazingly for a TV newbie -- both were picked up to series (2 Broke Girls at CBS and Whitney, in which Cummings also stars, for NBC). Austen says, "I'm not sure that's ever been done."

John Branca
Ziffren Brittenham

As co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate, Branca controls a burgeoning empire that earned more than $275 million last year. That's more than all other dead celebrities -- including Elvis Presley, J.R.R. Tolkien and John Lennon -- combined. "We've exceeded expectations on Michael," he says.

OFF-DUTY Branca says he wakes up each morning thinking about the UCLA Bruins.

Melanie Cook
Ziffren Brittenham

You'd think with a year like she's had, Cook would be flying high. After all, she closed a first-look deal for producer Scott Rudin with Sony; a pact for Rudin and his Social Network scribe, Aaron Sorkin, to team on an HBO series; and a third for Rudin and fellow client Stephen Daldry to make Extremely Loud and Dangerously Close -- not to mention other huge projects such as helmer Tim Burton's Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie. But the very reason these clients are drawn to her -- her exceptional empathy -- is what has been dragging her down. Cook, who agreed to spend a year working with a teenage girl from an inner-city school via THR's mentorship program, is reeling from the devastating news that her mentee has multiple sclerosis -- discovered just after she'd gotten into Berkeley and won a scholarship that Cook set up in her mother's name. "You invest so much," she says. Compared to that, "I can't even remember what I did this year."

Craig Emanuel
Loeb & Loeb

Emanuel, making his debut on the list, had his hands full this year with Glee showrunner Ryan Murphy, negotiating a $24 million overall deal with Twentieth Television that brings the hit musical to multiple platforms (including the Oxygen reality series The Glee Project and the Glee live tour). "Ryan has great aspirations of this being formatted in every conceivable way possible," Emanuel says. "The renegotiation gave us an opportunity to redefine how television deals are structured." Other clients include directors Lee Daniels and Robert Rodriguez and Transformers producer Don Murphy, whose sci-fi boxing drama Real Steel doesn't come out until October -- yet Emanuel is already talking to DreamWorks about a sequel.

OFF-DUTY Go, the ancient Chinese board game, which Emanuel plays on his iPad: "It is truly challenging and great for long plane flights."

Patti Felker
Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson

She's often seen cruising around fancy premiere parties in sweat pants, but Felker is anything but laid-back. In addition to repping rising talents Jesse Eisenberg and Mila Kunis and Fast Five star Vin Diesel, she helped two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner catapult to superstar status with the upcoming Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and the planned reboot of the Bourne franchise. "It's such a joy after years of his toiling and working on his craft to finally have the recognition," Felker says of Renner, whom she has represented "since the days of [2002's] Dahmer."

HOT LUNCH SPOT Palomino, across the street from her Westwood office. "I always get the wild salmon when it is on the menu."

Sam Fischer
Ziffren Brittenham

Fischer is especially proud of the deals he struck this year for Modern Family co-showrunner Steve Levitan, whose hit comedy will air on USA Network in a rich syndication pact. "It is great to have a show that is not only critically acclaimed but also rewards your clients financially," Fischer notes. "It doesn't always go hand in hand." He's also shepherding Julia Louis-Dreyfus' return to television on HBO's Veep and superproducer Peter Chernin's film and TV deals with Fox that include hot television projects Terra Nova and Kiefer Sutherland's Touch and the August film Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Fischer also handled Ben Affleck's deals to direct and star in Warner Bros.' Argo and Matt Damon's pacts for Media Rights Capital's Elysium and Fox's We Bought a Zoo.

FAVORITE GETAWAY Fischer and his family returned from Peru in May and are taking off in August for Italy to hike in the Dolomites.

David Fox
Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Light

Representing Two and a Half Men star Jon Cryer put Fox on the inside of the Charlie Sheen maelstrom. "Jon handled the slings and arrows with dignity and class," Fox says. "It must be hard to hold your tongue when your co-star and friend is taking shots at you." The die-hard Dodger fan (he bought a pink jersey for his young daughter this season) scored this year by representing the producers of Insidious, the microbudgeted horror pic that grossed $88 million worldwide. He also helped filmmaker Sheldon Turner get a writing credit on X-Men: First Class.

Seth Gelblum
Loeb & Loeb

To understand Gelblum's influence in the New York theater world, take a look at this year's Tony Awards: He represented the producers of all four best musical nominees (including winner The Book of Mormon) and three of the four best play contenders. Gelblum also is handling client Julie Taymor's royalty dispute over her firing from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a conflict that Gelblum calls his biggest challenge of late.

Michael Gendler
Gendler & Kelly

Gendler's big-ticket contracts this year included Alex Kurtzman's pacts to produce Cowboys & Aliens and the Star Trek sequel, Rob Marshall's deal to direct the $1 billion-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean four-quel and District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp's rich arrangement to write and direct Elysium, with funding from Media Rights Capital.

Cliff Gilbert-Lurie
Ziffren Brittenham

Gilbert-Lurie's low-key style masks a high-powered client list: Sandra Bullock, Dick Wolf, Tina Fey and Hugh Laurie, to name just a few. This year he closed rich deals for Bullock to star opposite George Clooney in Gravity and join Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, in which she co-stars with Tom Hanks. Client Claire Danes stars in the upcoming Showtime series Homeland. Dealmaking has become much trickier, he says, because "there's more complexity, given all the new digital platforms." Gilbert-Lurie's idea of a perfect escape is to turn off his Blackberry, iPhone and iPad, all of which he carries with him. "One can always dream," he says.

Carlos Goodman
Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

In the early 1990s, as Goodman came of age in showbiz law, the attorney -- new to this list -- had the good fortune of hooking up with a number of talented young filmmakers. Now those directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass, are among the hottest names in town, and Goodman is handling top-of-the-market deals like Tarantino's rich pact for Django Unchained and Aronofsky's for Noah's Ark. Where is the next wave coming from? Says Goodman, "The indie film market is pretty challenged at the moment, and a lot of studios are looking at foreign filmmakers."

Tom Hansen
Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

Client Mel Gibson certainly gets the most press (he's working on "a lot of projects behind closed doors," Hansen says), but the rest of his list is much less controversial. Robert Downey Jr. has Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows coming for the holidays and is at work on next summer's The Avengers. Steve Kloves penned seven of the eight Harry Potter movies, including Deathly Hallows Part 2. Hansen recently made Jon Stewart's deal to extend his stay on The Daily Show and helped Kevin Spacey's production company sell House of Cards to Netflix. Hansen was even hired by the Britney Spears Conservatorship to help with her tour. "I'm not even a music lawyer, but that has worked out well," he says.

OFF-DUTY Hansen is planning a fly-fishing trip to an Indian reservation in Bolivia with former partner Skip Brittenham.

Alan Hergott
Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

Hergott is a bit more nostalgic than most Harry Potter fans about the final film, considering client David Heyman produced all eight movies and another client, David Yates, directed four of them. "That's a big valedictory thing for me," Hergott says. His A-list movie stars include Brad Pitt (producer and star of Paramount's big-budget World War Z), Russell Crowe (who will play Superman's father in Warners' reboot) and Jake Gyllenhaal (star of the upcoming thriller End of Watch). He did Adam Shankman's deal to direct the musical comedy Rock of Ages, and client Alan Ball is red hot with HBO's True Blood and other projects.

OFF-DUTY A contemporary art collector, Hergott hit the Venice Biennale this year and acquired a painting by German artist Kai Althoff.

Barry Hirsch
Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman

At 77, Hirsch is still actively repping A-listers including Julia Roberts, Sean Penn and Jeff Bridges. It's a far cry from learning the ropes working on challenging productions like Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, which survived everything from treacherous Philippines weather to Martin Sheen having a breakdown. "That was like being breast-fed," Hirsch says of the learning process. These days, Hollywood is tough for another reason. "First-dollar gross deals are a thing of the past, with studios going to cash-break pools," says the famously tough negotiator, warning that new digital platforms will only pay off for those with gross deals. 

ESCAPE Hirsch is spending more time on the big island of Hawaii with Carol, his wife of 49 years. He says his golf game is better now than when he was 55.

Jim Jackoway
Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

Long one of the most well-connected lawyers in the TV business (client David Letterman name-checked him on camera during his blackmail crisis), the deep-voiced Jackoway scored this pilot season with client J.J. Abrams earning two new series pickups (CBS' Person of Interest and Fox's Alcatraz) and Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King returning with CBS' 2 Broke Girls. Jackoway was even brought in to help Mad Men network AMC close its contentious negotiations with Matt Weiner for seasons five and six.

Craig Jacobson
Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

Jacobson always manages to be at the center of the industry's most talked-about deals. He helped director David Fincher ink a blockbuster pact with Netflix for 26 episodes of the political drama House of Cards, leading some to predict that digital outlets might soon be a viable alternative to studio financing. The avid contemporary art collector, who can be found most weekends trolling L.A. art galleries, also closed Ryan Seacrest's three-year, $60 million contract with Clear Channel, and he helped Katie Couric finalize a complex deal to launch an ABC daytime talk show that she will co-own.

OFF-DUTY "To counteract years of weight lifting and exercising, I have taken up yoga."

Matthew Johnson
Ziffren Brittenham

Handling Tyler Perry's deals is pretty much a full-time job. But in addition to renegotiating the multi-hyphenate's rich film pact with Lionsgate and prepping his third TBS series, Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse, Johnson also found time to shepherd Matthew Vaughn's pact to direct June release X-Men: First Class, George Nolfi's deal to direct March's The Adjustment Bureau and two film deals and a Fox pilot for helmer Antoine Fuqua. Johnson also represented Forest Whitaker in connection with the actor's leading role on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

FAVORITE WEEKEND The Montage in Laguna Beach.

Joel Katz
Greenberg Traurig

The Atlanta-based chair of his firm's entertainment practice this year helped the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards ink extensions of their TV deals with CBS, and he served as co-counsel on the refinancing of Michael Jackson's Sony/ATV deal. He also sold Evergreen Publishing for about $100 million.

GIVING BACK Katz has lately been working with the USO, which sends stars to entertain troops overseas by helping to set up an advisory council to work on television programming.

Deborah Klein
Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

When Klein began representing SNL's Will Ferrell years ago, little did she know the comic actor's career would diversify into hit films (last summer's The Other Guys), indies (Everything Must Go), TV (an arc on The Office this season) as well as Ferrell and Adam McKay's active production company Gary Sanchez Productions and their online venture Funny or Die. Other top clients include Vince Vaughn, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Rudd and Megan Fox.

BLACKBERRY OR IPHONE? "Blackberry, much to my teenage son's dismay."

Linda Lichter
Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler & Feldman

"I've had a wild year," says Lichter, a doyenne of the indie scene and board member of the Telluride Film Festival. "Wild" is relative: While it includes recent bicycle trips to Vietnam and Cambodia as well as journeys to Ghana and the Galapagos, she's referring to the work she's done for her busy clients -- including the Scandinavian producers who own The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo rights; director Marc Forster, whose zombie movie, World War Z, stars Brad Pitt; and Linda Woolverton, the only woman to have penned a $1 billion-plus grosser, Alice in Wonderland, who is now writing a sequel for Disney and a stage adaptation. Lichter has one of the toughest negotiating styles in town but also one of the most engaging personalities -- plus a bit of help from an industry she says is "turning around. Movies are getting made; pretty much everyone I have is working."

Joel McKuin
McKuin Frankel Whitehead

When McKuin isn't chasing around his 14-month-old son, Maxson, the Harvard Law alum is handling one of the most diverse client rosters in town, from such actors as Twilight's Kristen Stewart to producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, Chuck). His firm's clients have been particularly collaborative lately: Stewart is starring in Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman, for which McKuin's partner Jeff Frankel sold the multimillion-dollar spec script. Schwartz is directing Paramount's Halloween comedy Fun Size, written by client Max Werner. And client Alyson Hannigan is set to reprise her role in American Pie sequel American Reunion, which is being produced by another client, Craig Perry. McKuin is also a partner in Tinga, a year-old Mexican eatery on La Brea in L.A.

OFF-DUTY McKuin plays keyboard, drums, bass and guitar. "I played a bowling alley gig in May with my pickup band, Shovel Ready."

Jon Moonves
Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano

In making Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry's new deal with ABC, the network balked at raising the show's distribution fee. So Moonves, a list newcomer, made up for it in back-end profit participation. "We ended up with elements that normally weren't in these contracts," says the avid poker player, who also took a crafty approach to Ray Romano's incentive-heavy deal for TNT's Men of a Certain Age. He was instrumental in the dealmaking for CBS' The Talk, repping exec producer Jonathan Redman and hosts Leah Remini and Julie Chen (yes, his sister-in-law). His TV-centric practice also included a rich new production/development deal for The Good Wife showrunners Robert and Michelle King.

OFF-DUTY Moonves is again heading to this year's World Series of Poker. He sees analogies between the game and the law: "You shouldn't ever be fully bluffing. You have to know you have a shot at winning."

Kevin  Morris
Morris Yorn Barnes & Levine

"As the lawyer for the guys from South Park, I've been in a nice spot to evaluate the evolution of entertainment," says Morris, who started repping Trey Parker and Matt Stone before they created the long-running Comedy Central series. "The franchise has worked wherever it's been taken -- cable, a digital studio, a movie, foreign, DVD …" In June, Morris found himself onstage at the Tonys being thanked by Parker and Stone for co-producing best musical winner The Book of Mormon with his clients.

HIS OBSESSION Since visiting Argentina four years ago, Morris has been back eight times, producing a movie there and lining up financing for a slate of films.

Kenneth Kleinberg
Kleinberg Lopez Lange Cuddy & Klein

Like clients Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Kleinberg has rocked well into middle age. He represents J.K. Rowling in the U.S. and recently worked on the launch of Rowling's Harry Potter website Pottermore. A chief focus these days is digital distribution, he says, and making sure clients get a piece of emerging revenue streams. His tenacity was rewarded in May when the Beverly Hills Bar Association named him entertainment lawyer of the year in one of the bigger BHBA events in recent memory. "It really blew me away," Kleinberg says.

David Lande
Ziffren Brittenham

When Lande began representing the mega-selling band Linkin Park in September, they had 9 million Facebook friends. Today that number has tripled to 27 million, third-highest among music acts, thanks in part to Lande's efforts in the digital space. He also reps chart-toppers Alicia Keys and Shakira and this year helped auction film rights to Jersey Boys, which sold to producer Graham King.

David Matlof
Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman

One of the town's friendliest lawyers isn't afraid to get tough on behalf of director clients Pete Berg, who's making the $200 million Battleship for Universal, and Joe Kosinski, who is following Tron: Legacy with Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise. Working closely with partners Barry Hirsch, Bob Wallerstein, Georg Hayum and Howard Fishman, list newbie Matlof handled Josh Lucas' deal to star in NBC's series adaptation of The Firm; shepherded Lauren Shuler Donner's producing deal for X-Men: First Class and the upcoming The Wolverine; and helped former MGM executive Mary Parent set up a dozen projects at Paramount as part of her first-look deal. 

FAVORITE WEEKEND "Playing golf at Sandpiper" in Santa Barbara.

Marcy Morris
Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

This list newcomer doesn't represent every blond actress in Hollywood, but it might seem that way with Cameron Diaz returning to R-rated comedy with Bad Teacher (a unique deal that saw Diaz take a low fee up front for a big chunk of backend), January Jones filming X-Men: First Class and Unknown during her Mad Men hiatus and Kate Hudson starring in May's Something Borrowed and the upcoming A Little Bit of Heaven. "For your clients to make the same amount of money, you need to be more creative now," says the mother of three, who becomes "Mrs. Coach" on weekends in honor of her husband, Steve Morris, a well-known soccer coach on L.A.'s Westside.

Bob Myman
Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Light

Myman's actress clients had a great TV pilot season: Maria Bello booked NBC's Prime Suspect, Jaime King landed on the CW's Hart of Dixie, and Laura Prepon stars in NBC's Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, among others. And on the feature side, client Damon Lindelof wrote and produced Cowboys & Aliens, co-wrote Ridley Scott's 2012 big-budget Prometheus and is working on the Star Trek sequel. Myman also is proud of the work he's done for Lost director Jack Bender, who will helm the Jack Ryan thriller Moscow for Paramount and is an exec producer and director on Fox's new series Alcatraz.

SECRET PAST A water polo star at UCLA, Myman is in the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Peter Nelson
Nelson Davis Wetzstein

Nelson's instincts as a competitive sailboat racer served him well in the protracted negotiation of Peter Jackson's deal to make two Hobbit films for Warner Bros./MGM. He handled director Nicolas Winding Refn's pact to make festival breakout Drive, Rod Lurie in his deal to remake Straw Dogs, out in September, and Sean Durkin's Sundance favorite Martha Marcy May Marlene, which opens this fall. As fate would have it, Drive and Straw Dogs open on the same day (Sept. 16). "I didn't actually know," Nelson recalls, "until one of the directors lovingly pointed it out."

Jeanne Newman
Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

You could unleash a swarm of bees on Newman and she wouldn't flinch. Literally. One of the toughest negotiators in the business found out last year when the organic vineyard/farm she owns with husband Gary Newman (chairman of 20th Century Fox TV) was invaded by thousands of yellow jackets. How do you get rid of them? "You don't," she sighs. Some of her legal adversaries may feel the same about Newman, who spent more than a year hammering out Matt Weiner's deal to continue as showrunner of Mad Men, a negotiation so complicated, she says, "It felt like we were reinventing the wheel." Equally challenging was her pact for longtime client John de Mol's Dutch company, Talpa, to produce NBC's hit The Voice.

GIVING BACK Newman has made mentoring a priority, taking on a teenage girl via THR's Women in Entertainment mentor program. "It helped me get through everything else this year," she says.

Robert Offer
Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

You could say Offer had a #winning year, landing client Ashton Kutcher the gig as Charlie Sheen's replacement on CBS' Two and a Half Men. Rather than Kutcher's agent or manager, it was Offer who first connected with CBS entertainment chief and longtime friend Nina Tassler this spring. The Los Angeles-bred attorney has kept similarly busy with Angelina Jolie's directorial efforts, Ryan Gosling's evolving resume, Michael Bay's Transformers fortunes and Robert Pattinson's Twilight fame. When he isn't on the golf course, Offer spends many of his nonworking hours with his parents and three children. "I have my hands full," he laughs.

Don Passman
Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

Music fans might be surprised to learn that the same lawyer represents Paul Simon, Kanye West and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery. "We're full service," says Passman, who also moonlights as an author of the indispensable treatise All You Need to Know About the Music Business, a new edition of which will be out in the fall. Passman also is helping Glee star Matthew Morrison build his recording career.

OFF-DUTY Passman is a big poker player, often driving to Commerce Casino outside L.A. Has he ever faced off against Tobey Maguire? "I don't play games that big," he jokes. 

Lee Phillips
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Known for his blue-chip music clients, Phillips hit it big this year with Randy Jackson's new multiyear contract on American Idol as well as his MTV show, endorsements and music producing gigs from Hollywood to Russia. Phillips guided Fran Drescher's return to television with Happily Divorced on TV Land and is in protracted negotiations with Sony Music (successor to CBS Records) to determine if longtime client Barbra Streisand will celebrate her 50th anniversary there or look for a new deal (see page 9). Other music clients include Tracy Chapman, Steve Perry, the Eagles, Kenny Loggins and Neil Young.

Bruce Ramer
Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

Ramer, the longtime lawyer for Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood, carries himself in such a regal manner that many business affairs executives admit it's hard to say no to him. That demeanor has helped him build one of Hollywood's top talent boutiques and allows Ramer to pack his annual USC entertainment law and business symposium with top speakers like Disney's Bob Iger and Sony's Michael Lynton. Ramer is active in conservative politics (though he says Sarah Palin is "not my cup of tea"), and in November he became chairman of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

HIS OBSESSION Ramer became interested in Mexican art during trips to a family house in northern Baja. "It's the great colors," he says. "I've got three major pieces of Mexican art in my office, and 80 percent of the art in my home is Mexican."

Ken Richman
Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

Richman reps his share of actors, including Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons, for whom he recently negotiated a rich new three-year deal. But he is known as one of Hollywood's top lawyers for TV showrunners. This year he inked a new three-year deal with NBC Universal for The Office's Paul Lieberstein as well as new pacts for 30 Rock exec producer Robert Carlock; Emily Spivey, showrunner of Christina Applegate's new NBC series Up All Night; Jenny Bicks, exec producer of Showtime's The Big C; and Scot Armstrong of NBC's upcoming BFF. Richman says, "I feel lucky I have such a diverse practice."

Lawrence Rose
Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

Lots of lawyers do charity work. But Rose's devotion to animal rights is on another level. In addition to repping multi-hyphenate Ben Stiller, directors Cameron Crowe and Joe Johnston and writer Steve Zallian, Rose founded and runs his own Los Angeles-based animal rescue organization "It's 24-7, nonstop," he says. "Last night we were at an emergency hospital from 8 to 10 because one of our cats had a problem." This year, Rose stumbled across a hoarder who kept 95 abused felines in a trailer. When the City of Los Angeles wouldn't step in, he took matters into his own hands, accepting responsibility for finding homes for about 75 of them. "I don't know who's crazier, the hoarder or the city for refusing to bust him even though they knew what kind of situation it was," he says. The man was eventually arrested and charged with 46 counts of animal cruelty.

Ira Schreck
Schreck Rose Dapello Adams & Hurwitz

"We've always worked well with creative types who are capable of wearing more than one hat on any given project," says the New York-based Schreck, who this year negotiated for longtime client Ed Helms to star in and executive produce Cedar Rapids (in addition to co-toplining The Hangover Part II). Client Kevin James also is a producer and star of the recently released Zookeeper. Schreck reps Friday Night Lights and Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims and Rescue Me showrunner Peter Tolan, requiring him to travel to Los Angeles at least once a month.

Nina Shaw
Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano

Elegant and gracious, Shaw is more than just a dealmaker: She's also known for mentoring young men and women (she participated in THR's own Women in Entertainment mentor program) and being open to helping almost any newcomer to the business. That's especially impressive when you consider how busy she's been putting together mega-million pacts for the likes of Jamie Foxx (in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained), executive producer Pam Veasey (whose Ringer premieres in September on the CW) and Dallas-based pastor T.D. Jakes (she's putting together a slate of movies for him and Screen Gems, with Heaven Is for Real and a remake of Sparkle next). Jakes illustrates the blend of old and new she believes is critical to the business. "We're all searching for a way into both the traditional media and new media," she says, adding, "It's so important to have a perspective beyond work. That's why mentoring matters. It's really the small things you do that count."

Jason Sloane
Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

Given the number of his actor clients in superhero films, you might expect Sloane to walk around his Beverly Hills office in tights and a cape. This year he helped Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy join the next Dark Knight film and negotiated for Amy Adams to play Lois Lane in Man of Steel (he also handled Hugh Jackman's deal for the latest Wolverine). "Even more gratifying for me is that as a firm we are front and center in this arena," says the father of two, "with my partners having made deals for Henry Cavill as Superman, Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, Armie Hammer as Lone Ranger and Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, as well as Zack Snyder's directing deal for Man of Steel."

Doug Stone
Stone Meyer Genow

Actors dream of starring in one potential movie franchise. With Stone's help, Daniel Craig now has three, with this year's Cowboys & Aliens and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo joining the James Bond series. "There were a lot of negotiations to get that done," Stone says. "No one wants to put a franchise in jeopardy by not having a main actor available, so everyone had to have a level of comfort with his schedule." The New Jersey native, who practices with well-known partners Neil Meyer and Rick Genow, has for the past three years been commuting to L.A. from Montecito, where his family lives. "It was a lifestyle choice and it's worked out well," he says.

OFF-DUTY Stone plays on an ice hockey league team started by manager John Ufland.

Gary Stiffelman
Ziffren Brittenham

Stiffelman put together Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour, which was, well, a monster and included an HBO special. And he helped move Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails from musician to film composer with The Social Network, which won him an Oscar for original score (with Atticus Ross). But what has Stiffelman really excited is working with the Metropoulos family, which bought Pabst Brewing. He designed a deal for celebrity endorsements, starting with Snoop Dogg for Colt 45 Blast, for a limited upfront payment but a share in the profits so clients "become a spokesman rather than just getting a check," he says.

Steve Warren
Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller

When Warren isn't kayaking seven miles a day past orcas near his getaway in the San Juan Islands, he's putting together whale-sized deals for such superstar clients as Leonardo Di Caprio and Tobey Maguire (The Great Gatsby), Drew Barrymore (she'll produce and direct both Heist Society and How to Be Single) and Charlize Theron (Snow White and the Huntsman). "I feel I'm part of motion picture history with them," he says. With an unrivaled list of actors and writers (add scribes Stephen Gaghan and Akiva Goldsman), he's just as passionate about such up-and-comers as Jessica Chastain (he signed her to seven movies this year alone) and Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games). Warren says his philosophy is to become integral to his clients' lives, often having them over for dinner parties, where he plays the piano while they sing. When that includes three Glee castmembers crooning Beatles tunes, maybe he should be paying them.

Alan Wertheimer
Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

When he isn't representing movie and TV creators J.J. Abrams (Super 8), Gary Ross (Hunger Games) and Frank Darabont (The Walking Dead) or such actors as Sigourney Weaver and Teri Hatcher, you'll find Wertheimer playing softball (in leagues in Los Angeles and New York) or getting his hands dirty on his collection of antique autos. The most recent addition is a 1928 Ford Model A, which requires a complete restoration. Having grown up in L.A. and worked in a gas station, he's steeped in the city's two dominant cultures: cars and movies. He helped get a lot of his clients' movies made this year, including Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom for Focus Features and Jason Reitman's Young Adult for Mandate Pictures and Paramount.

Bryan Wolf
Ziffren Brittenham

Wolf handles his share of A-list talent -- Judd Apatow and Steve Carell included -- but he's fast becoming one of the town's go-to film finance lawyers as well. He worked on the $350 million co-financing deal between David Ellison's Skydance Prods. and Paramount and helped Thomas Tull's Legendary Pictures secure a new line of credit. "The movie co-financing market is completely different from what it was five years ago," he notes. "Rather than being herded into blind slates, investors are able to select individual pictures. Also, the financial terms are much more equitable for investors and producers than in the slate deal era." On the talent side, he's proud of the deal he negotiated for Comedy Central's Daniel Tosh to be an equal partner in a new online venture.

FAVORITE GETAWAY Wolf and his family escape to Maine when they can.

Ken Ziffren and Skip Brittenham
Ziffren Brittenham

HOW WE MET: Introduced in 1978 by late agent Leonard Hanzer, Ziffren and Brittenham, then at separate law firms, went on to create the blueprint for the Hollywood 5 percent talent law firm. In the process, they redefined dealmaking in the 1980s, a trend that continues at Ziffren Brittenham, long considered the town's pre-eminent firm. "Skip always makes fun of what I was wearing," the buttoned-down Ziffren says of that first lunch at an Italian restaurant with his future partner. Agrees Brittenham, married to actress Heather Thomas: "He's very conservative and I'm not. If we were the same, I don't think the partnership would have been as successful."

Jake Bloom: Where Art Thou?
Years of unreturned phone calls to one of Hollywood's top dealmakers have taken a toll

Jake, buddy. Really? Five years running, you're the only Power Lawyer to refuse to speak to me for your profile. I get it: You've built a reputation as the industry's anti-authoritarian iconoclast, a man whom Jerry Bruckheimer once said in these pages "looks more like a bohemian poet than a Hollywood lawyer." You don't really need recognition from THR or anyone. You represent Johnny Depp, flying high with the $1 billion gross of the latest Pirates. Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is a client. Imagine Entertainment. Even Sylvester Stallone made a $100 million-grossing movie last year (The Expendables). But man, five years of unreturned phone calls is downright depressing. My therapist says I shouldn't take it personally, but I do. This year, I even promised your assistant I wouldn't ask any awkward questions about clients Charlie Sheen or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Still nothing. She even giggled at me a little. Yes, I realize that calling you out in the middle of a list to say you ignore it is not exactly a stinging punishment. But for me, it's therapy. I hope you understand. -- Matthew Belloni

comments powered by Disqus