Hollywood Law Hires: Gersh Agency Partners With American Bar Association for Film, TV

Operation Greylord Cover - P 2015
Courtesy of The American Bar Association

Operation Greylord Cover - P 2015

The American Bar Association has partnered with a Hollywood talent agency to launch legal-themed film and TV projects.

The Gersh Agency will represent the rights of books released via Ankerwycke, the ABA's new consumer publishing imprint. 

"Many of the best films and television shows come from the legal world. The ABA is uniquely positioned to develop these stories and will be a strong source of material for our industry," said Gersh books department head Joseph Veltre in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "We look forward to representing them and producing meaningful and impactful narratives together."

The first titles under the agreement will be Terrence Hake's Operation Greylord, a Chicago prosecutor and FBI informant's first-person account of the largest judicial corruption bust in U.S. history, and James Muehlberger's The 116, the true story of frontiersmen led by a Kansas lawyer who protected Abraham Lincoln from assassination early in the Civil War. Other projects are planned.

The 18-month deal is a significant step for Ankerwycke following its launch in December.

"In our few short months, we have seen how Ankerwycke provides a forum to publish works of fiction and nonfiction that explore the law in more detail than many commercial books. This takes us to a new level," said ABA president William Hubbard in a statement.

In other entertainment law news…

—Greenberg Glusker will expand its music and digital media practice, starting with the hires of dealmakers William Hochberg and Mitchell Manger. Hochberg has represented composer Lalo Schifrin (Mission: Impossible) and litigated disputes with electronic music groups Krewella and LMFAO. Manger previously founded and was general counsel for the music software startup Antiquity (and invented a musical instrument, the Wheelharp). The firm is planning other hires in music and new media, entertainment group chair Matt Galsor tells THR.

—The Beverly Hills Bar Association will present Ivy Kagan Bierman with the Entertainment Lawyer of the Year honor at the organization's annual awards dinner in September. The Loeb & Loeb partner specializes in labor issues, including negotiating multimedia deals with the guilds and investigating disputes involving American Idol and Fashion Police. Said BHBA entertainment law section chair Susannah Jeffers in a statement, "Ms. Kagan Bierman is well-respected in the industry for her exceptional skill at facilitating harmonious labor relations on productions and resolving extremely high profile and time sensitive labor disputes. She is also known for her commitment to women in the entertainment industry."

—With a new Century City office opening this week, Sidley Austin is growing its Los Angeles presence. The firm has hired transactional lawyer Matthew Thompson to co-head the media and entertainment practice from the Century City office, following the hire of Dan Clivner to co-manage the firm's Los Angeles office. They both specialize in mergers and acquisitions, with eOne and Mark Burnett's One Three among Thompson's clients and Universal and CBS among Clivner's.

Carolyn Hunt has joined Barnes & Thornburg in the firm's entertainment, sports and media practice. The former Loeb & Loeb corporate dealmaker will be a partner in B&T's Los Angeles office. She recently represented East West Bank in financing the upcoming Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend for Netflix, and her previous work includes representing financiers on The Wolf of Wall Street and Martin Scorsese's upcoming Silence, the first Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Weinstein Co. projects including the Nicole Kidman drama Lion and Netflix's Marco Polo

—The litigator behind one of Hollywood's biggest-ever jury verdicts will now head his firm’s trial practice. Roman Silberfeld, who in 2010 won $319 million from Disney in his case over Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? profits on behalf of one of the ABC game show's producers, will be the first national trial chair for Robins Kaplan. He'll continue to work from the firm's Los Angeles office, which he's managed for the past 20 years. His practice extends from entertainment to technology, finance and product liability.

—Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp has bolstered its music law practice. The firm, which has fought piracy for decades and now represents the record companies in the dispute over pre-1972 music copyrights, has hired former general counsel of the National Music Publishers Association Jay Rosenthal as a partner in its entertainment and new media practice. Rosenthal, who has represented clients including Don Henley, Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spectre) and Salt-N-Peppa, will work on litigation and transactions from the firm's Washington, D.C., office.

To submit entertainment law hires, promotions, publications and other news, email Austin.Siegemund-Broka@THR.com.