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Entertainment and Sports Law

Players on the Move

A look at moves among attorneys, law firms, companies and other players in entertainment law.

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Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. appointed Jamaal Lesane to succeed Lawrence Burian as general counsel. The new legal chief advises on matters related to MSG Sports subsidiaries such as the NBA’s New York Knicks, NHL’s New York Rangers and esports business Counter Logic Gaming. Burian steps down after spending two decades at MSG-related entities. He joined the company in 2010 as general counsel of MSG Sports and later assumed the role of executive vice president of corporate development at MSG Entertainment Corp., which owns non-sports assets such as Radio City Music Hall. Lesane joined MSG Sports in 2008 as vice president of legal and business affairs, and was appointed to the position of associate general counsel in 2020. Prior to joining MSG Sports, Lesane spent almost two years as an associate counsel for the TV network HBO. Burian’s departure comes roughly four months after Madison Square Garden Entertainment announced its hire of general counsel Jamal Haughton. He succeeded Scott Packman, who spent a little over a year in the role. Burian also steps down from his posts as general counsel for MSG Networks, executive vice president for corporate development for MSG Sports and corporate development executive at MSG Entertainment. SpringHill, an entertainment development and production company founded by LeBron James and responsible for producing the live action/animated film Space Jam: A New Legacy, appointed media veteran Endi Piper as general counsel. The New York City-based Piper previously served as general counsel at Complex, a media company focused on youth culture, and as head of business affairs for BuzzFeed. From 2005 to 2018, she was senior vice president of business and legal affairs for TV One, a cable network geared toward African-American viewers. She also worked for the legal department at Black Entertainment Television. Piper reports to SpringHill CEO Maverick Carter. James and Carter launched SpringHill in June 2020. Jennifer Lewis, SpringHill’s initial general counsel, left in October, according to LinkedIn. She now is general counsel of Redbud Brands. Hollywood, CA-based SpringHill was recently valued at $725 million as part of a deal that sold a minority stake to RedBird Capital Partners, Fenway Sports Group, Nike and Epic Games. Katie Pothier leaves her general counsel post for the Texas Rangers to become executive vice president and chief legal officer of the New York Mets. Pothier, who served as legal chief for the Rangers since 2016, has more than 25 years of legal experience, 14 of them in Major League Baseball. She was general counsel of the San Diego Padres from 2002 to 2010. The Mets have been without a permanent legal chief since the team last June fired legal chief David Cohen and human resources head department head Holly Lindvall. The dismissals came after the team hired law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr to investigate the organization’s culture, following the firing of three high-ranking members of the club who allegedly harassed female colleagues, reporters and other women. WarnerMedia’s general counsel and several other top brass, including the CEO, split with the media and entertainment giant on the eve of its $43 billion merger with Discovery Inc. A WarnerMedia spokesperson confirmed that general counsel and executive VP Jim Meza is among nine executives who “will depart the company.” At WarnerMedia, Meza oversaw all of its legal matters. Attempts to speak with Meza were unsuccessful. Meza previously worked as an in-house leader at AT&T and successfully defended the company against the Justice Department’s attempt to block AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. Following that deal, AT&T rebranded Time Warner as WarnerMedia, which owns CNN, HBO and HBO Max, New Line Cinema, TBS, TNT and several other major media brands. Now AT&T is spinning off its media holdings with the Discovery merger, which will create Warner Bros. Discovery. Elisebeth Collins joins World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as general counsel. She previously served as deputy general counsel for construction-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. Collins takes over at WWE from the departing Samira Shah, and will report to Vince McMahon, WWE’s chairman and CEO. Before joining Caterpillar, Collins served as lead counsel at Boeing. However, she has spent most of her career on Capitol Hill, where she worked for the Department of Justice and the Senate Judiciary Committee. WWE produces wrestling events, films and other programming that reaches more than 1 billion homes worldwide in 30 languages. The publicly traded company has annual revenue of $1.1 billion and employs 870. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan brings on Alesha Dominique as the head of its trademark group in Los Angeles. Dominique, previously based in Washington, D.C., was most recently the chair of the trademark prosecution group at entertainment-heavy Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. She also advises clients on patent, copyright, false advertising and unfair competition matters. During her time at Mitchell Silberberg, Dominique represented hip-hop artist Drake in a copyright case involving an allegedly infringing “sample” from a jazz album. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips entertainment litigators John Gatti and Lauren Fried have joined Loeb & Loeb as partners in Los Angeles. Nixon Peabody has added entertainment partner Carron Joan Mitchell to its Los Angeles office.

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