Power Lawyers 2016: Meet 9 Dealmakers of the Year

6:00 AM 4/20/2016

by THR Staff

The industry’s top in-house attorneys.

From left: Bernardine Brandis, Noah Fogelson and Tina Perry
From left: Bernardine Brandis, Noah Fogelson and Tina Perry
Courtesy of Subject (3)
  • Bernardine Brandis

    Disney, executive vp business affairs

    Courtesy of Subject


    She led the charge for the studio in all the deals for the latest Star Wars trilogy. But she also oversees franchises in an even bigger universe — Marvel, which is releasing nearly a dozen superhero films in the next three years. The main challenge of the job? Keeping above-the-line talent happy while avoiding budget bloat.

  • Noah Fogelson

    STX Entertainment, executive vp corporate strategy and general counsel

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley 

    STX still is in its infancy, but Fogelson (brother of film chief Adam) already has forged partnerships with TPG and China's Huayi Bros. In its first year, the studio is releasing 10 films, with as many as 15 more the following year. Fogelson also is working on expanding the STX infrastructure for TV and digital content and is closing several deals to expand STX's international operations.

  • Jeffrey Freedman

    CAA, general counsel

    Courtesy of Max S. Gerber


    The bulk of Freedman's time in 2015 was spent executing six acquisitions in 10 months, including CAA Sports' purchase of Denver-based ICON Venue Group, which closed in March. Freedman also handles CAA's litigation and employment matters and represents the company in its dealings with the Association of Talent Agents.

  • Seth Krauss

    WME-IMG, chief legal officer

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Washington University 

    In the nearly two years since WME bought IMG, Krauss has helped the company execute a dozen acquisitions, including Professional Bull Riders Inc., the Miss Universe Organization and The Wall Group. Krauss has been busy on the road meeting the new partners and splits his time among New York, Los Angeles and London. He also is working with co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell to build an infrastructure and internal governance protocols that would smooth the transition if the company decides to go public.

  • Rob Lister

    Imax, chief legal officer and chief business development officer

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Fordham University 

    Lister advised Imax through several huge milestones in 2015. The company recently opened its 1,000th theater and now is present in 60 countries, releasing about 40 films a year. He also helped Imax become the first Western company to take a sub­sidiary — Imax China — public on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The October IPO was $250 million, but the market cap already is in the $2.5 billion range.

  • Heather McCauley

    Netflix, vp business and legal affairs

    Courtesy of Kristin Burns

    ALMA MATER UC Berkeley

    McCauley essentially is building a boutique law firm for Netflix, leading a small team that handles all the deals for original series, documentaries and stand-up specials, including Orange Is the New Black, Narcos and Making a Murderer. She recently negotiated the licensing deal with DreamWorks Animation that gives Netflix streaming rights to the entire animated film library (DreamWorks also will launch several original kids' shows on the streamer).

  • David Mosse

    TPG Growth, partner and general counsel

    Courtesy of SRK Headshot Day


    In the past, the investment company mostly has focused on health care and consumer industries. But Mosse has helped lead TPG Growth — and its $3 billion fund — into Hollywood projects. The company is a co-founding partner in STX Entertainment and Evolution Media Partners.

  • Tina Perry

    OWN, executive vp business and legal affairs

    Courtesy of Subject

    ALMA MATER Harvard 

    Perry is helping OWN break into the world of original scripted series. She negotiated a deal with Lionsgate for Greenleaf and another with Ava DuVernay to write, direct and executive produce Queen Sugar, both of which will premiere this year. Perry also worked with Tyler Perry to secure new episodes of his four hit series that air on OWN.

  • Martin Willhite

    Legendary Entertainment, COO and general counsel

    Courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

    ALMA MATER Loyola Law School

    Willhite is lead negotiator on all of Legendary's corporate deals, including its $3.5 billion sale this year to China's Dalian Wanda Group. The deal was the largest media acquisition by a Chinese company to date and transformed Legendary from an independent studio to a global media player. With new resources and reach, Willhite is looking to build out Legendary's television business (it has four shows on the air). Before Wanda, Willhite refinanced and extended the company's $600 million senior credit line with JP Morgan.