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Ex-Sony topper joins showbiz law firm

Levine to represent entertainment, new-media industries

Former Sony president Alan J. Levine has joined powerhouse law firm Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca & Fischer Tuesday as counsel. He will focus on representing clients in the entertainment and new-media industries.

Since leaving Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1996, Levine has worked as a consultant advising clients on strategic planning, mergers, acquisitions and other major business transactions.

Levine said that he and the Century City-based firm were a good match because both are “about putting together new business opportunities for entertainment companies.”

Levine cited Ziffren Brittenham’s central role in the recent creation of POP.com with Paul Allen, DreamWorks and Imagine (Daily Variety, Oct. 26) as the type of innovative deal the firm was doing that got his attention.

Elaborating on the sort of work he expected to do at the firm, Levine said, “There are many opportunities to bring traditional media players such as studios, networks, advertisers and production companies together with the innovative entrepreneurs of the digital world to build new systems.”

Although he declined to name names, Levine said he expected to bring some of his consulting clients to the firm. He said, for example, he will represent “a new technology company that will hook up with a traditional content producer.”

The firm’s founding partners, Ken Ziffren and Skip Brittenham, said, “From the first time we met with Alan about the possibility of joining us, it was immediately apparent that his expertise and leadership skills would bring real value to our firm.”

Ziffren Brittenham, one of the city’s most successful transactional entertainment firms, has a wide array of individual and corporate clients in the motion picture, television, music and new-media areas.

Levine joined Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1989 after Sony Corp. purchased Columbia Pictures Entertainment. He eventually rose to the position of president and chief operating officer before departing in 1996. Before going to Sony, Levine was a name partner in the prominent entertainment firm Armstrong, Hirsch & Levine, where he represented both individuals and companies.