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December 6, 2011 4:19 PM

So Who Are Hollywood's Top Legal Dealmakers?

Posted by Brian Baxter

Entertainment industry publication Variety is out with its top Hollywood dealmakers list for 2011, and  partners from several Am Law 200 firms, up-and-coming associates, and in-house counsel have made the cut.

Three of the 45 people to land on Variety's list are entertainment and media practice heads at Am Law 100 firms: O'Melveny & Myers's Joseph Calabrese, Katten Muchin Rosenman's Michael Hobel, and Greenberg Taurig's Joel Katz

As noted in a a feature story in the current issue of The American Lawyer, O'Melveny has long-standing ties to the entertainment industry. It makes sense then that the Variety list also includes firm partners Christopher Brearton, Robert Haymer, and Stephen Scharf. Recent media-related transactions on which O'Melveny has advised include Calabrese and Brearton's representation last summer of the International Olympic Committee on its $4.4 billion television rights deal with NBC.

Also singled out by Variety: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan corporate entertainment partners Schuyler Moore and Matthew Thompson. The magazine notes that the two have played key roles in securing foreign financing for the film industry, which is increasingly important as risk averse U.S. banks and hedge funds cut back on certain investments.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips business, finance, and tax counsel Jordan Yospe—a former head of business and legal affairs at Mark Burnett Productions—is recognized for his work representing advertisers and other sponsors in new media projects.

The other lawyers identified by Variety as top Hollywood dealmakers are Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger partner Matt Galsor; Weissmann Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin & Evall partner Wayne Kazan; partner Bryan Wolf of Ziffren Brittenham; and Neil Blair, the founder of The Blair Partnership in London, which represents such prominent authors as J.K. Rowling.

Variety also singles out Loeb & Loeb alum Gregory Shamo, now executive vice president for corporate affairs and general counsel at Relativity Media, as well as Andrew Kramer, president of business and legal affairs for The Weinstein Company. Kramer joined the film studio in 2006.

David Friedman, executive vice president and general counsel of Summit Entertainment, is another in-house lawyer tapped by the magazine as a top dealmaker. Friedman, who helped Summit release the hit series of Twilight movies, joined the independent film studio four years ago after serving as deputy general counsel at Paramount Pictures.

Friedman, a former partner at Beverly Hills firm Sinclair, Tenebaum, Olesiuk & Emanuel, which merged with Loeb & Loeb in 1998, replaced Bryan Cave and Stroock alum Andrew Matosich as Summit's top in-house lawyer in July 2007. Matosich, who became Summit's executive vice president for business affairs, is also named a top dealmaker this year by Variety.

In its "Up Next" section on emerging dealmakers, Variety sizes up Greenberg Glusker associate Alla Savranskaia, Weissmann Wolff (and ex-Latham & Watkins) associate Carolyn Conrad, and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton associate Stacy Dollarhide.

Also appearing on Variety's power list: actor and Screen Actors Guild president Ken Howard, who, while not a lawyer, can currently be seen playing former U.S. attorney general Harlan Fiske Stone in the Clint Eastwood-direc biopic ted J. Edgar, about the longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. (Howard's other credits include a small role in legal thriller Michael Clayton.)

Earlier this year, Variety's rival The Hollywood Reporter published its own list of power lawyers for 2011. Attorneys who appear on both publications' lists of Hollywood heavy-hitters include Greenberg's Katz, Stroock's Moore, Ziffren Brittenham's Wolfe, and O'Melveny's Calabrese and Scharf.

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