Power Lawyers 2012

8:30 AM 7/18/2012

by THR Staff

Meet Tom Cruise's protector, Ryan Seacrest's dealmaker and the woman keeping Lindsay Lohan out of jail as THR reveals the top 100 entertainment attorneys in America.

Austin Hargrave

This story first appeared in the July 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

To mix things up for this year’s Power Lawyers issue — THR’s list of the top U.S. entertainment attorneys — the honorees were asked to answer a short questionaire.

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One query consistently provoked the most interesting responses: “What’s the worst thing someone has said to you?” From the funny (Barry Hirsch: “You mean, besides ‘F—you?’ ”) to the heartfelt (litigator Patty Glaser noted the “unprintable” insults “from the mouths of really insecure men”), Hollywood lawyers put up with a lot of negativity.

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In fact, if there’s one quality each attorney in this issue shares, it’s the ability to solve high-profile problems against great odds, whether it’s settling a major divorce in less than a week (as Bert Fields and Allan Mayefsky did in July for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, respectively), saving a deal that’s about to fall apart (as Jeanne Newman did for Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner) or being first on the scene when a client dies (as Kenny Meiselas was with Whitney Houston).

In its sixth year, the Power Lawyers issue has become a de facto guide- book to Hollywood’s biggest problems. But after reading about these intelligent, aggressive advocates, it’s hard not to be optimistic about the industry’s ability to solve them.

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How the List Was Chosen
To determine Hollywood’s 100 most influential attorneys (in alphabetical order), THR canvassed the biggest deals and cases of the past year. Lawyers were broken down into four categories — talent dealmakers, litigators, corporate dealmakers and “troubleshooters” (divorce or criminal matters) — and evaluated against their peers based on cases won/nature of deals closed as well as their reputation within the entertainment legal community. In-house studio, network or talent agency lawyers are not eligible (it’s too difficult to gauge influence within a corporate structure).

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