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Law firm changes name, focus

Morris, Yorn shifting emphasis to digital

Managing partners Kevin Morris and Kevin Yorn have changed the name of their entertainment law firm to Morris Yorn Barnes & Levine. The Century City-based firm is also shifting its emphasis to digital.

Name change reflects a recent shakeup that resulted in the exit of partners Debbie Klein (who took her list of comedy stars with her), attorney Douglas Mark (who took his music clients) and founding partner Michael Barnes. Morris, Yorn, Stephen Barnes and Jared Levine are now steering the firm, which became an anchor tenant in 2000 Avenue of the Stars, where CAA is headquartered.

“Over the past nine months, we’ve made a series of moves which created exactly the organization we need for our next chapter,” said Kevin Morris. “We have a strong core business, and we are achieving our long-held goal of starting new, asset-based businesses.”

While still lawyering the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Mike Judge, Mike Newell, Snoop Dogg, Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock, the firm eyes growth opportunities in the creation of businesses in the digital space. Those efforts are spearheaded by Morris and Paul Nadel.

“The old model of simply relying on managers and agents for business is passe,” Morris said. “The non-value-added lawyer is a dying breed; you can’t just sit back and mark up contracts anymore.”

Morris made a groundbreaking deal for “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that made them half-partners with Viacom for all revenue generated by their show in the digital realm. The firm brokered the Funnyordie.com deal before Will Ferrell left with Klein.

After organizing Bridge, a daylong summit/think tank that attracted 40 artists, tech experts and media execs to discuss the digital age at the firm’s headquarters last month, Morris is turning the enterprise into a business. There will be annual conferences in both L.A. and New York as well as an online social network. Morris said they are looking to raise a Bridge opportunity fund to hatch digital ventures, and he is creating Bridge Advisors, a consulting group that will be hired to advise companies.

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