Hollywood Litigator Larry Stein Adds Mediator to His Résumé

"There’s a tremendous need for conflict resolution in society, now in particular," says Stein.
Kareem Assassa/Courtesy of Liner LLC
Larry Stein

After more than three decades as an entertainment litigator, Larry Stein is joining ADR Services as a mediator — but that doesn't mean he's leaving, or even slowing down, his law practice.

"I’ve been thinking about doing it for about 10 years," says Stein, a talent litigator whose clients have included David Duchovny, Peter Jackson and Rob Lowe. "The problem has always been that most of the mediation organizations want you to give up entirely your practice of the law. I’m not prepared to do that."

Stein is a partner at Liner LLP and a staple of The Hollywood Reporter's annual Power Lawyers list. His practice runs the gamut of entertainment litigation, including cases involving profit participation, defamation, copyright infringement and right of privacy.

Last year, Stein scored a major win for client Blake Shelton in his libel lawsuit against In Touch Weekly. The parties are currently in settlement talks, according to judge Christina Snyder's notes, after Stein's team defeated an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss the complaint filed by the magazine. 

ADR is expected to announce Stein's new role next week, and shortly thereafter he'll begin working in mediations alongside his litigation practice. Since many mediation sessions are only a half-day or day long, he's not concerned about being able to balance the work. In fact, he says it's important for lawyers to expand their experience outside of their own practice and give back.

"Throughout my career I have always tried to do interesting and different and constructive things for the profession or the community," Stein says, noting his teaching at USC Law School as one example. "I’m not seeking to change from advocate to decider. My goal is to facilitate settlements, and I think in the entertainment industry it’s especially important to resolve disputes at an early stage."

Stein says bringing in a mediator early in a dispute helps keep costs down and increases the chances that the parties will be able to peacefully and productively work together in the future. 

Outside of the courtroom, Stein is a friendly, soft-spoken man. So it's really no surprise that he's drawn to mediation rather than its more contentious counterpart, arbitration. He likens his persona to that of the Hulk — angry when necessary, but typically mild-mannered.

"I have a sense of social justice and righteous indignation and, when I see someone who is being treated badly, I open up and the Hulk comes out of me," Stein says. "I think that’s part of what makes me effective as a litigator. I’m generally not that way, but when I need to be I am."

Stein hopes that despite representing mostly talent rather than studios during his career, his ability to understand both sides of an argument will allow him to use his role as mediator to eliminate the vitriol that comes part and parcel with many industry disputes.

"I hope that my years of practicing have convinced people that I’m reasonable and rational and fair-minded," Stein says. "There’s a tremendous need for conflict resolution in society, now in particular. I’d like to be part of that movement because I think it’s the right thing for the legal profession and the people we serve."