Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher associate Steve Tsoneff got his undergrad degree from Harvard inVictorian literature–hardly what you’d expect of someone entering the the exacting protocol of entertainment finance law.

Hired in 2000 just out of Columbia Law School, the now-33-year-old Huntington Beach, Calif., native transferred to the Entertainment Practice Group halfway through his tenure, where he quickly immersed himself in film finance and entertainment-related mergers and acquisitions work.

He was lead negotiator in securing $350 million for New Line from the Royal Bank of Scotland and $500 million for Fox from New York hedge fund Dune Capital Management, with an assist on Universal’s $500 million deal with Relativity.

“I try to be very personable,” says Tsoneff in describing his negotiating strategy. “From a client’s perspective, what they want out of their outside counsel is someone who’s personable, responsive and knowledgeable. At the end of the day, in the transactional world, what clients want is to get the deal done.”

LARRY ULMAN OF GIBSON, DUNN: “He’s an amazingly quick study; clients love him. A lot of our deals are highly negotiated, and tempers flare, but Steve always tends to keep his cool. He’s a great listener and has become a great negotiator.”