Power Lawyers: The Troubleshooters

Andrew McLeod

Shawn Holley, Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert
Blair Berk, Tarlow & Berk
Laura Wasser, Wasser Cooperman & Carter

Plenty of Los Angeles lawyers handle high-stakes criminal cases and rich divorces, but it takes a special skill to expertly navigate both the legal issues and the glare of a rapturous media. Holley, a former public defender who worked with the late Johnnie Cochran on the O.J. Simpson team, has steadfastly defended actress Lindsay Lohan in various criminal matters amid perhaps unprecedented media attention. It's a unique expertise she honed by repping the likes of Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton and the Kardashians as they found themselves in all kinds of dicey situations. "People associate me with getting people out of trouble," says the mother of three daughters (her husband is singer Dorian Holley, a vocal coach on American Idol). Berk, who has her hands full defending Mel Gibson, disputes the notion that the law makes exceptions for celebrities. "I spend lots of my time reminding prosecutors and judges that my clients deserve to be treated the same as any other defendant, not worse," says the North Carolina native. Wasser, an A-list family-law specialist (her father is divorce guru Dennis Wasser), has ended marriages quietly and professionally for Britney Spears, Ryan Reynolds and Christina Aguilera. The once-married lawyer is in the middle of perhaps her biggest divorce ever: Maria Shriver from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The perks of representing A-list clients are many, she says, but she mostly eats meals at her desk: "Few people in town want to go out to lunch and be seen with a divorce lawyer," she says.

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