Hessinger’s law in order

Former guild director finds firm deal

Greg Hessinger, former exec director of both SAG and AFTRA, has joined the law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius in its labor and employment law practice group.

Based in the firm’s Philadelphia office, Hessinger will advise his former adversaries — studios and networks — while dividing his time between the east and west coasts.

Hessinger was fired in October by Screen Actors Guild leaders in the fifth month of a four-year deal after control of the board room shifted to the more aggressive Membership First faction. Earlier this year, he reached a confidential settlement with the guild that was believed to be for less than half of the $1.4 million he was owed under the contract.

After four years at CBS and Westinghouse, Hessinger joined the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists in 1998 and became its exec director two years later. He succeeded Bob Pisano as chief exec at SAG in spring 2005 after Pisano had become prexy of the Motion Pictures Assn. of America.

Mike Curley, who leads the firm’s entertainment industry labor and employment, cited Hessinger’s experience, relationships and knowledge of the collective bargaining agreements and the health and retirement funds in the various entertainment industry sectors.

“The dramatic technological changes taking place in the production and distribution of content are already having a profound impact on basic business models,” Hessinger said in a statement. “I believe that my background on both sides of the table will give me unique insight that can help the industry adapt to these changes.”

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