May 22, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Entertainment lawyers hop between new and established L.A. firms

3 min read

The logo of law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP is seen in their office in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

  • Manatt music industry dealmaker jumps to Greenberg Traurig
  • Willkie lures L.A. partners from Venable
  • Boutique vets to launch new shop

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(Reuters) – Entertainment lawyers with high-profile clients are pulling up stakes in Los Angeles this week, with Greenberg Traurig and market newcomer Willkie Farr & Gallagher pulling in new laterals.

Greenberg Traurig is touting the arrival of Charles (Jeff) Biederman as a shareholder in its Los Angeles office. A former partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Biederman has represented music interests from country singer Dierks Bentley to the estate of jazz legend Miles Davis.

The firm also touted his work on deals involving music artist catalogs. Biederman advised New York-based Downtown Music Holdings on the $400 million sale of a 145,000-song catalog to music rights company Concord Music in April. The sale included songs performed by Adele, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, David Bowie, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Marvin Gaye.

Earlier this year, Biederman led the Manatt team that advised Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Ltd on its $363 million acquisition of a publishing catalog that included songs from The Beatles, Celine Dion and the Backstreet Boys.

Biederman said he expects all of his clients to come with him. He described his arrival as a homecoming of sorts – he still has friends at the firm after his brief stint as an associate in Greenberg Traurig’s Atlanta office.

Biederman’s father, Donald Biederman, who served as general counsel to Warner/Chappell Music Inc before his death in 2002, was also good friends with Jay Cooper, the founder of Greenberg Traurig’s Los Angeles entertainment practice.

“It was a chance to reconnect with some old friends and have a slightly broader reach,” Biederman said, taking note of the firm’s international reach. Greenberg Traurig has 40 offices spread across 11 countries.

Biederman isn’t the only entertainment lawyer making moves this week. At least five new partners Willkie has poached from Venable have an entertainment element to their practices. The firm opened its Los Angeles office earlier this month.

Willkie’s newest Los Angeles partners include Paul Bernstein, the former vice chair of Venable’s entertainment and media litigation group, and Eric Bakewell, a litigator who has represented the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which presents the Emmy Awards.

Meanwhile, four entertainment attorneys are breaking off from their Hollywood boutiques to launch their own law firm next year, according to entertainment press reports.

The new firm is being formed by Matthew Johnson, P.J. Shapiro and Gregory Slewett of Ziffren Brittenham and Tara Kole of Gang Tyre Ramer Brown & Passman. Shapiro, who is the managing partner of Ziffren Brittenham, did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more:

Willkie launches Los Angeles office with three Venable hires

Downtown Music sells a catalog of 145,000 songs to Concord for $400 mln, sources say

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