×

Hollywood’s New Leaders: Law and Finance

Variety‘s Hollywood’s New Leaders profiles those to look out for in the worlds of film, TV, digital and more. For more of the New Leaders, click here.

Ken Deutsch, 37 (second from left)
Partner, Latham & Watkins
When he was at O’Melveny & Myers, Deutsch did deals for DreamWorks Animation, MGM, Miramax, Revolution Studios, Univision, Bank of America and others. In November, he and four co-workers left O’Melveny to open the Century City office of Latham & Watkins, specializing in entertainment, sports and media. Some of his most satisfying work has been for newer players such as Participant Media, Legendary and Cross Creek Pictures. “Turning those kind of companies into industry powerhouses is always a nice result for lawyers.”

Chad Fitzgerald, 39 (far left)
Partner, Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert
Fitzgerald litigates cases on behalf of the creators, writers and producers of such shows as “Family Guy,” “King of the Hill” and “Smallville” in disputes with studios. He’s repping Frank Darabont and CAA in their dispute with AMC over profits from “The Walking Dead,” scheduled to go to trial next year. “The typical argument we get from every entertainment company is basically, ‘How dare you. We made you rich.’ I really do feel like I’m on the side of justice.”

Justin Hamill, 37 (not pictured)
Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Hamill joined Paul, Weiss directly after earning his J.D. at Boston College and rose to become deputy chair of the media and entertainment group and a member of the firm’s M&A group. In recent months, he’s played a lead role in WME’s acquisition of IMG Worldwide and Vice Media’s partnership with A&E Networks. “I help clients price risk. We have a good feel for how things will play out in the real world.”

Molly Lens, 37 (center)
Partner, O’Melveny & Myers
Lens has become one of her firm’s key entertainment litigators, helping Disney beat a long-running profit participation lawsuit brought by the creators of “Home Improvement,” repping Fox in a trademark infringement suit regarding “Empire” and defending Warner Bros.’ rights to exploit the J.R.R. Tolkien franchises “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” “Ultimately, you’ve got to like litigating and you’ve got to like the people that you’re working with, both inside the firm and your clients.”

Michael Maizner, 37 (not pictured)
Senior counsel, Loeb & Loeb
Maizner has become a go-to attorney for entertainment union and guild issues, with special expertise in child labor laws and reality-competition shows. Lately, an increasing amount of his time has been spent helping clients navigate the uncharted waters of the digital world. “When the industry first thought to address new media in the collective bargaining agreements, they were looking at short-form programming. They didn’t expect full-on hourlong dramas with Kevin Spacey.”

Christopher Perez, 32 (not pictured)
Partner, Donaldson + Callif
Perez has helped everyone from independent TV and film producers to YouTube creators take full advantage of their First Amendment rights. He’s secured insurance covering fair use, copyright, trademark infringement and personal rights issues for more than 400 narrative films and documentaries, including “Escape From Tomorrow,” which was shot surreptitiously at Disney World and considered by many to be unreleasable. “People know that fair use exists, but they don’t realize it’s as usable as it really is.”

John Tomlinson, 37 (far right)
Head of entertainment, Lockton Cos.
Tomlinson wanted to be a professional drummer, but when his college band broke up, he decided to go to work with his father, who helped pioneer the business of insuring touring bands. He designed anti-violence and terrorism policies for artists touring dangerous territories and devised event-cancellation and nonappearance coverage for EDM acts. He stepped in to help an act navigate around some political violence to make it to a concert. “Had we not been able to find a way to make that happen, the show would’ve had a big non-appearance claim.”

Crockett Woodruff, 38 (second from right)
Senior VP/senior relationship manager, entertainment, City National Bank
Woodruff has spent most of his banking career at City National. In the past year, he’s helped close 10-single picture transactions totaling over $150 million and six participations in various syndicated credit facilities totaling over $130 million “You see a lot of struggling producers who just need some direction. It’s great to see people’s dreams come true.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Prosecutors Make Last-Minute Move to Bolster Case

    The Manhattan D.A.’s office is making a last-minute bid to strengthen its case against Harvey Weinstein, who is set to be tried next month on charges of rape and sexual assault. Prosecutors notified the court on Tuesday that they will seek a new indictment. The D.A.’s office wants jurors to hear from Annabella Sciorra, the [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein's Autopsy Rules That He Died by Suicide

    Jeffrey Epstein’s death earlier this month has been ruled a suicide by hanging. The New York Times reported on Friday that the city’s medical examiner has officially made the ruling six days after Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. According to the Times, which cites a [...]

  • America Ferrera Eva Longoria

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and More Sign Letter to Latinx Community: 'We Will Not Be Broken'

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and more have signed a letter published in several media outlets on Friday standing in solidarity with the Latinx community. In response to the heightened tension surrounding President Trump’s immigration agenda, the El Paso shooting that targeted Latinx people and the ICE raids in Mississippi, the letter addresses the language used [...]

  • Research Firm Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox

    Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox, an Entertainment Marketing and Ticketing Startup

    Screen Engine/ASI, a market research firm that specializes in focus-group testing of movies and TV pilots, has acquired ticktBox, which operates a digital marketing and ticketing platform used by movie distributors, exhibitors, and TV networks. Terms of the deal, which closed Aug. 9, weren’t disclosed. With ticktBox, SE/ASI will have one of the largest databases of [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Eric Reid, Jemele Hill – and Colin Kaepernick? - Take Jay-Z to Task Over NFL Partnership

    When news of the presumably lucrative entertainment and social-justice deal between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL leaked on Tuesday, initially there was a surprising lack of public reaction or outcry. But after a press conference where Jay and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell officially announced the deal at Roc Nation’s New York offices yesterday — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content