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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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Yorn Levine Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner Endlich & Gellman is growing with four in-house attorneys from Disney, Netflix and Paramount. The Los Angeles-born entertainment firm says it has added Sabrina Padwa, senior vice president of Disney-owned ABC Family’s Business Affairs, as a partner. Joining Padwa are senior counsel Asheley Dean, a director of business and legal affairs at Netflix, senior counsel Bob Thompson, who previously worked at Disney and Fox, and associate Stephanie Krause, in-house counsel at Paramount Television Studios. Yorn Levine’s clients include Steph Curry, Ellen DeGeneres, Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keyes, Matthew McConaughey, Jordan Peele, Chris Rock and Jason Sudeikis, according to the firm. The Las Vegas Raiders have hired Justin Carley as general counsel, a post that has seen heavy turnover as the NFL franchise grappled with multiple controversies in recent years. Carley comes to the Raiders from real estate developer Howard Hughes Corp. For nearly three years, he has been Honolulu-based and serving as the company’s assistant general counsel. Before that, he spent 13 years in the Las Vegas office of Snell & Wilmer. Carley replaces Kevin Manara, who departed in August after only 10 months in the job. He came to the team from the NFL, where he’d been an attorney for 13 years. Manara came aboard after the team promoted then-GC Dan Ventrelle to team president in July 2021. But team owner Mark Davis fired him in May — a move Ventrelle alleged was retribution for reporting to the league office employee concerns that the team has a hostile work environment. … Maria Krasnikow Harris, a former senior attorney at Revlon and The Body Shop joins Brooklyn-based news and entertainment company Vice Media as chief legal officer. She most recently was chief legal officer of Packable Holdings, an e-commerce platform for health and beauty products that opted to liquidate this fall after a special purpose acquisition company merger fell apart. Harris earlier was general counsel of the fitness company SoulCycle, general counsel for the Americas of the personal care retailer The Body Shop and assistant general counsel of Revlon. She succeeds Lucinda Treat, who recently left Vice Media earlier this month to serve as CEO at the Los Angeles-based podcast startup Crooked Media founded by former aides to President Barack Obama. Founded in 2017 by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, along with ex-staffers Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, Crooked boasts 21 million monthly downloads of its podcasts. Harris joins Vice Media as it is facing challenges. The company’s valuation fell from $5.7 billion in 2017 to $1.5 billion this year, according to The New York Times. Treat led Vice Media’s legal department since 2018. Before that, she served as chief legal and administration officer at Revlon, which she joined in 2013 after serving as general counsel at Independent Sports & Entertainment and as business operations and strategy executive vice president for Palace Sports & Entertainment, a subsidiary of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. She also was GC for The Madison Square Garden Co. Two years after it began telegraphing its intentions to enter the South Florida market, the Dallas-based, tech-oriented law firm Munck Wilson Mandala has landed in Boca Raton. In an interview, managing partner William Munck said he had been plotting offices in South Florida and Orlando for years as he watched the regions attract tech companies and lure talent from Silicon Valley. Current intellectual property partner and South Florida resident Amanda Greenspon will lead the Boca office. A Miami office is in the works, Munck said. The firm looks to add South Florida lawyers who can service Miami clients at the intersection of sports and name- image-and-likeness deals, video games and entertainment. Levine Plotkin & Menin, a New York-based entertainment boutique law firm, has opened an office in Los Angeles, plotting expansion as its clients branch out to different disciplines in the entertainment world. Leading the new office is partner David Schachter, who joined the firm from Los Angeles-based McKuin Frankel Whitehead and previously worked with Levine Plotkin & Menin on projects related to the musical Hamilton, which the firm represented from development stage through its premiere as a film on Disney+. While in the past entertainment clients tended to stay in one lane like theater or television, increasingly clients from one corner of the entertainment world are “aggressively” pushing into other areas of the industry, Schachter noted. “Based on the old rules, if you were a book author, you couldn’t be a showrunner. If you were a musician, you couldn’t be a television producer,” Schachter said. “Those rules don’t apply anymore.” That phenomenon was accelerated by the pandemic, according to Levine Plotkin & Menin partner Conrad Rippy. “Especially with the theater being shut down for 18 months, there was this tendency of both talent and producers from one side of the table wanting to work in different disciplines,” Rippy said. “The first year of the pandemic, it seemed like every deal I did was with a streamer [because] our theater writers’ shows were suddenly off.” In addition to its work on Hamilton, Levine Plotkin & Menin recently worked with the producers of Netflix’s The Prom and Gloria Steinem on the autobiographical film The Glorias. Schachter represents Scott Mescudi (Kid Cudi) in his film and television projects, and recently advised Taffy Brodesser-Akner, the author of Fleishman Is In Trouble, who is also serving as series creator and showrunner for the television adaption of her book.

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