Hollywood Law Impact Report

Firm: Lavely & Singer

The practice: The scourge of the tabloids, Marty Singer is the man to call when a celebrity is in trouble. Over the years, he has gone to war to protect the reputations of a long stream of clients including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Britney Spears, Sylvester Stallone, Eddie Murphy, Nicolas Cage, Celine Dion, Jim Carrey and Kelsey Grammer.

Notable recent suits involve Willis’ court battle against a photographer who claimed he was assaulted by the star, and Reese Witherspoon’s suit against the Star for claiming she was pregnant.

He’s earned the sobriquet “Mad Dog” — he says a colleague once saw “M.D. Singer” stenciled on his parking spot and gave him the nickname.

But Singer says there are many more tools in his arsenal besides aggression. “First we try to prevent an article, and if we can’t do that, we try to change it. With most publications, we’re looking for cooperation,” he says. “You can’t accomplish anything by being a jerk.”

Although defamation matters are a substantial part of his practice, Singer also handles employment and contract issues that are resolved without litigation or in private arbitrations. Recent cases that spilled out into public view were his representation of James Gandolfini in a salary dispute involving the thesp’s work in “The Sopranos”; a rights and likeness case filed by former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner against Stallone; and a breach-of-contract case for Steve Bing against Sean Penn, where Penn claimed he was fired from a film because of his views on the war in Iraq.

POV: “I always tell my clients they must tell me the truth because the truth always comes out,” Singer says.

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