Haffner, Michiel to help expand practice

Law firm Weston Benshoof Rochefort Rubalcava & MacCuish has added two associates to its entertainment and new-media group, which represents a slew of A-list helmers of animated films, as well as visual f/x supervisors.

The additions, Julie Haffner and Aaron Michiel, will work alongside Nancy Newhouse Porter, chair of Weston Benshoof’s entertainment and new-media group, which is looking to expand its practice. It recently paired up with Weston Benshoof’s business and technology group to cater to the convergence of new technologies and businesses within the entertainment industry and other arenas.

The entertainment and new-media group represents a variety of filmmakers, production companies and studios in the development, production, financing and distribution of feature films and TV programming, as well as Internet programming.

Clients include “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” helmer John Lasseter; f/x vet Dennis Muren (“A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace”); Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, co-helmers of “Shrek”; Chris Wedge, director of Fox’s upcoming CG-animated pic “Ice Age”; as well as writers, directors and producers behind “Antz,” “Tarzan,” “Big Momma’s House,” “Jumanji 2,” “Mulan,” “The Prince of Egypt” and “A Bug’s Life,” among others.

“Both Aaron and Julie bring invaluable experience to the firm and, in particular, the entertainment and new-media division,” Newhouse Porter said.

Michiel most recently directed live-action development and production transactions for management and production company Industry Entertainment’s film division as director of business and legal affairs. Before that, he was director of business affairs at comicbook publisher Top Cow Prods. He adds those companies as clients to Weston Benshoof’s live action and animation roster.

Haffner was an attorney at Richards, Watson & Gershon, where she specialized in both transactional and litigation matters. She also interned at Live Entertainment before it became Artisan Entertainment.

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