The Talent

February 24, 2012 4:02 PM

Get Ready for the Marc Dreier Movie

Posted by Brian Baxter

A little more than three years after litigator Marc Dreier's shocking arrest and conviction, U.S. distribution rights to a documentary about the disgraced attorney's downfall have been acquired by a company that plans to release the film on April 13 in theaters and video on demand. As an added attraction, the film is directed by a former Dreier LLP lawyer.

The trailer for Unraveled, which was filmed during Dreier's final 60 days of presentencing house arrest and is also set to air on CNBC and Showtime, appeared on Hulu this week.

The 61-year-old Dreier, whose personal and professional implosion was the subject of a March 2009 cover story in The American Lawyer, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence at a low-security facility in Sandstone, Minnesota. He is scheduled to be released on November 11, 2026, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

(The roughly two-and-a-half-minute Unraveled trailer, which includes comments from Dreier's high-profile New York defense lawyer, Gerald Shargel, can be seen below, as well as on YouTube.)

The documentary's director, Marc Simon, is also a partner at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, a small New York firm that handles digital media, IP, litigation, and publishing work for the arts and entertainment industry.

Simon, who joined Cowan DeBaets in 2009 after spending roughly five years at Dreier LLP, was out of the office on Friday and not immediately available for comment about Unraveled. But he did speak last year with about how his Hollywood connections helped convince him that making a film about Dreier's demise would be a worthwhile endeavor.

Simon, who had a bit role in Spike Lee's 25th Hour and directed another documentary, Nursery University, about the cutthroat world of Manhattan's private preschools, told IndieWire that at first he was unsure about dedicating time to filming Unraveled while trying to settle in at a new firm following Dreier LLP's collapse. (The exodus from the firm was swift in the days following its founder's arrest, according to our previous reports.)

Dreier himself gave a lengthy interview to CBS's 60 Minutes in 2009. In the interview, he gave his reasons for why Dreier LLP, with him as its only equity partner, went bust. Judging from the Unraveled trailer, Dreier seems to have eventually recognized that the one-equity-partner model ultimately doomed the firm by forcing him to keep borrowing money he was unable to repay.

Much of that money, it turned out, wasn't borrowed at all, and was instead simply taken from clients like real estate billionaire Sheldon Solow. Much of that money also went not into the firm, but toward bankrolling Dreier's extravagant, jet-setting lifestyle, which included spending money on artwork, penthouses, yachts, and celebrity events.

"Obviously it's easy to lose discipline when you're spending money that's not yours," Dreier says in the trailer. "The morality of it did bother me, but it didn't stop me--it's hard to explain that."

The trailer itself closes with this quote from Dreier: "It's easy to say you would never cross the line, but the line is presented to very, very few people."

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