Hollywood Law Impact List
The practice: Founded by Frankfurt 30 years ago, the Big Apple firm boasts perhaps the most diverse portfolios of clients and acumen in the entertainment law biz.
“My practice on any given day moves between publishing to major motion pictures to indie films to theater to licensing and merchandising to digital media,” notes Heller, who joined the then-tiny firm right out of NYU Law in 1977. Today, Frankfurt Kurnit has 50 lawyers under its roof.
On the talent side, the firm “goes back to people like Sidney Lumet and includes new talents like Dan Fogler,” notes Frankfurt, adding that Geraldo Rivera, Kathy Lee Gifford and John Goodman are also in the stable.
But thesps are just one part of the practice: There’s a thriving indie film business, which includes representation of the Tribeca Film Festival; there’s representation of topflight TV talent, including Aaron Sorkin; there’s work with local advertising production firms, including Radical Media; there’s work with international clients like Britain’s Richard Curtis, helping them cross over into the U.S.; and there’s the repping of bestselling book writers, including Dean Koontz, Walter Mosley and South Beach Diet guru Arthur Agatston.
In fact, Agatston — who has branched out beyond his Rodale book series to a newsletter, a Web site and a national sponsorship deal with Kraft Foods — is a good example of the kind of “super-hyphenate” the firm strives to transform its clients into.
“In the last eight years, there’s been a tremendous growth of individuals building great brands,” Heller notes. “We have a firm large enough and deep enough to deal with the tax work, the licensing issues, the intellectual property issues and the digital media issues right under one roof.”
POV: “Being from New York, we felt it was important to add services beyond film and television,” Heller says. “We have an independent attitude towards dealing with Hollywood because we’re not located there.”