April 19, 2023

Partners Alan Epstein, Michele Mulrooney, Sid Fohrman, Thomas Baxter, Steven Hurdle and Kathy Wunderli were named to Variety’s Legal Impact Report, an annual listing of the entertainment industry’s top lawyers. The accolades collectively highlight Willkie’s strength across its transactional and private clients practices in Los Angeles.

On the transactional side, Alan, Sid, Thomas and Steven were described as a quartet that “possesses vast experience across all areas of entertainment law.” Alan was highlighted for representing Ryan Reynolds in T-Mobile’s reported $1.35 billion acquisition of Mint Mobile, and for advising Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment in Mediawan’s acquisition of a significant stake in Plan B. Sid’s expertise in tech, music and new media is noted, including his role advising BMG Rights Management on catalog acquisitions and negotiating deals and agreements for virtual reality music company AmazeVR. Thomas was mentioned for advising producer Chris Coelen in selling an interest in Kinetic Content to North Road. Steve’s role recently representing Venture 10 Studio Group principals John Stevens and Hans Schiff in rolling the Group into the newly formed V10 Entertainment is also included.

Looking toward what’s next on the horizon in the entertainment transactions area, Alan commented, “…despite the strong economic headwinds and the increase in interest rates, we’ll continue to see strong interest in premium content creators across all genres. The power of premium content is prevalent and is surviving the downturn … It’s probably even more powerful today than ever because of the increasing volume of content being consumed.”

On the private clients front, the article mentioned that Michele and Kathy have worked together for 15 years, providing personal legal services to high-wealth clients, many of whom are in the entertainment industry. Their work spans life events from birth to death, including taxes, marriage/co-habitation agreements and dissolutions, estate planning, probate, philanthropy and more. The article highlights that it is well known in the entertainment community that they represent many of the “A-listers.”

When asked what’s happening in the private clients area, Michele commented, “What’s on the minds of our clients is how can they use their existing estate and gift tax exemption before it sunsets. People with wealth are thinking, ‘What planning can I do in the next two years to maximize what I can pass on to my family, and charitable giving as well?’”

Read the full Legal Impact Report here