Hollywood Legal Hiring: Early 2018 Moves and Promotions

Larry Stein - Ashley Yeargan - Ben Rubinfeld - Getty-H 2018
Courtesy Photo; Todd Williamson/Getty Images; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Veteran Hollywood litigator Larry Stein is moving his team to a West L.A. intellectual property boutique firm.

Stein, longtime partners Bennett Bigman and Ashley Yeargan and senior associate Diana Sanders are joining Russ August & Kabat as it expands its IP practice into entertainment and media litigation. The team has recently handled Blake Shelton’s defamation lawsuit against In Touch Weekly, Drake’s defense in a trade libel case and a claim for credit and compensation involving the first Godzilla film.

“RAK’s highly respected IP practice and extensive trial experience fit perfectly with the entertainment, branding, and business needs of our clients," said Stein in a Monday statement. “Joining a boutique IP firm allows us to avoid conflicts and allows us to quickly and efficiently address the time-sensitive needs of our clients, particularly with respect to media-related issues. We are a natural match.”

Russ August managing partner Larry Russ said he jumped at the opportunity to add the team to his firm’s flourishing IP practice. “This opportunity was far too good to pass up," he said in a statement. "Larry Stein and his team have an impeccable reputation and we provide a broad legal and business platform to serve all of their clients’ needs and grow our firm.”

Russ August represents celebrities and their companies in trademark acquisition and licensing and other business matters. The firm's clients include Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, Fred Segal and Forever 21.

Stein and his team join the firm from DLA Piper, which acquired the group's prior firm Liner LLP in October. Yeargan is an alum of THR's 2016 Next Gen class.

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In other entertainment law hiring news:

— Entertainment and intellectual property litigator Jeremiah Reynolds is joining Eisner Jaffe as a partner. Reynolds was most recently a partner at Kinsella Weitzman where he handled an array of matters involving distribution rights, profit participation, contractual disputes and other litigation. His clients have included Justin Bieber, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Robert Duvall, Kate Hudson and Tom Hanks.

— Dan Rozansky is joining Sherman Oaks-based Stubbs Alderton & Markiles as a partner in its business litigation group. Rozansky's entertainment litigation practice spans First Amendment issues and complex business disputes. He joins from Jenner & Block where he was a partner. 

— Hollywood talent law firm Ziffren Brittenham has promoted three of its associates to partner effective Jan. 1: Dean Bahat, Logan Clare and Benjamin RubinfeldBahat joined the firm in 2014 from Funny or Die and represents clients including Naomie Harris, Eric Andre and Billy Eichner; Clare joined Ziffren in 2014 from Morris Yorn and works with Elizabeth Banks, Imagine Entertainment and Jerrod Carmichael; Rubinfeld joined the firm in 2012 from Sheppard Mullin and reps Drake, Janelle Monae and Elizabeth Gillies. Clare and Rubinfeld are alumni of THR's annual Next Gen list. 

Akerman LLP is expanding its Los Angeles practice with the addition of a duo of intellectual property and commercial litigation partners from Sedgwick LLP. Caroline Mankey — who was previously chair of Sedgwick's Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment group — represents clients across entertainment, fashion, retail and technology in matters including copyright, trademark, licensing and right of publicity disputes. Business and entertainment litigator Kanika Corley represents clients including multimedia companies, musicians fashion brands and professional athletes. 

— Goldberg Segalla is opening an office in Los Angeles, with a focus on cyber risk, sports and entertainment. Leading the L.A. group is John F. Stephens, who joins from Sedgwick LLP and represents clients in matters including data privacy, new media and digital marketing. Stephens will chair the firm's Cyber Risk group and serve as vice chair of its Sports and Entertainment group.