Hollywood Law Impact List

Firm: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

The practice: Edelman made headlines in 2004 when he obtained a $122 million jury verdict on behalf of Intertainment Licensing, but the high-profile fraud case against Elie Samaha and his Franchise Pictures was just one milestone in an entertainment practice that has been building steam over the past decade.

When Edelman, 48, started at Gibson Dunn in the mid-1980s, the firm had a well-regarded media practice, but it did little pure entertainment work. “A year or two after I made partner,” says Edelman, the co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s media and entertainment department, “the firm moved me to the Century City office to develop an entertainment practice. I said, ‘Thank you, but I have no clients and neither does the firm.’ For the last 10 years, I’ve worked on developing the kind of large institutional-based practice that works best for a big firm.”

Edelman has done substantial work for the studios, particularly Sony. He is lead counsel for Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment in a lawsuit brought by independent video retailers against the major studios and Blockbuster challenging the revenue-sharing model by which videotapes are distributed to the major video chains.

And in a case that settled favorably before trial, he represented Sony in an antitrust claim brought by Intertainer, alleging studio collusion in creating the Movielink download service.

POV: “We’ve had a great time growing the practice,” Edelman says. “You start with smaller cases and get some victories under your belt and move up to bigger things. Building a practice is like building a house: one stone at a time.”

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