Press Releases

Sheppard Mullin Adds Three More Partners to its Entertainment, Media & Communications Team

February 7, 2003

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP announced today that Robert A. Darwell, Benjamin R. Mulcahy and Shaun C. Clark have joined the Firm's Entertainment, Media & Communications Team. The three attorneys joined as partners, effective February 5, 2003, and will be based in West Los Angeles.

"We are very excited to welcome Bob, Ben and Shaun. All three are tremendously talented in all aspects of motion picture and television development, production, finance, and distribution" said Guy Halgren, Chair of the Executive Committee. He added, "In addition, they bring the West Coast’s most well-established advertising law practice to the Firm."

Joe Coyne, Executive Committee member focused on the Firm's strategic planning and growth initiatives, emphasized that "the Firm’s carefully considered strategic decision was to assemble the top legal talent in the entertainment field. With these, and our other recent additions, Sheppard Mullin has completed laying the foundation of our Entertainment, Media & Communications Team. The new attorneys' specific areas of expertise mesh well with our corporate, litigation, banking, tax and IP practices."

Darwell, Mulcahy, and Clark will be working closely with some of their former colleagues who were partners at the Hill Wynne Troop & Meisinger law firm, including Marty Katz, Tom Leo, Linda Michaelson, and David Sands and three of the co-founders of that firm, Lou Meisinger, Bob Wynne, and Dick Troop, all of whom joined Sheppard Mullin within the last few weeks. With these additions, Sheppard Mullin has, almost overnight, brought together the key players in the entertainment industry, establishing one of the preeminent institutional entertainment, media and communications law practices in the nation. Sheppard Mullin now has a core team of nearly 20 attorneys with experience in all phases of institutional entertainment and media law.

In addition, Darwell, Mulcahy and Clark bring with them a major advertising law practice that entails advising advertisers, agencies and prominent website operators on a broad range of advertising law issues.

Bob Darwell, who will head the entertainment transactional team, said, "We are very excited that Sheppard was able to pull together the core group of Hill Wynne Troop and Meisinger’s entertainment practice, including its founders. We all share the Firm’s goal of building the preeminent entertainment and media law practice."

Lou Meisinger, who joined the firm as a senior advisor from his position as General Counsel and Executive Vice President of The Walt Disney Company, commented, "As a client I’ve appreciated these attorneys' absolute, passionate commitment to service and excellence. I am now looking forward to working side-by-side with them again as colleagues."

Bob Darwell has extensive experience in representing entertainment and media clients in all aspects of motion picture and television development, production, acquisition and distribution as well as specialized services with respect to bank and other forms of single and multiple picture production financing, including co-productions and output deals. Mr. Darwell has represented major motion picture studios, as well as independent production companies and other institutional entertainment and media entities. He also represents and counsels advertisers and agencies in connection with a wide variety of advertising law issues.

Mr. Darwell received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Arizona State University in 1985 and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 1988 and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Mr. Darwell also obtained a French Language Degree from the University of Paris, (La Sorbonne), France in 1985. He is admitted to practice in the State of California and the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. In addition to frequently authoring legal- and entertainment-related articles, Mr. Darwell is active in professional associations including the Entertainment Law Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and the UCLA Symposium Advisory Committee.

Ben Mulcahy represents studios, independent production companies, and rights holders in connection with television and motion picture development, production, and distribution. Mr. Mulcahy handles such matters as development deals, first-look agreements, rights acquisition agreements, feature film distribution and production services agreements, television series distribution and licensing agreements, chain of title review, and guild signatory issues. Mr. Mulcahy also represents and counsels entertainment entities, prominent web site operators, and advertising and marketing agencies in preparing endorsement and sponsorship agreements, licensing and protecting intellectual property rights, reviewing and clearing advertising copy for use in on-line and off-line media, preparing advertising agency and media agreements, and complying with the state and federal regulations governing contest and sweepstakes promotions.

Mr. Mulcahy received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Saint John’s University in 1991 and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1994, where he was a member of the National Moot Court and the Minnesota Law Review. Upon graduation, Mr. Mulcahy clerked for the Minnesota Supreme Court. In addition to writing several articles and speaking regularly on advertising law, Mr. Mulcahy is active in professional organizations including the Entertainment Law Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the California State Bar Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Promotion Marketing Association.

Shaun Clark represents major motion picture studios, publishing and entertainment conglomerates, independent television and motion picture producers, and other entertainment related entities in the acquisition of rights, and the finance, production, distribution, and ancillary exploitation of entertainment content. In addition, he often represents institutional clients in their capacity as lenders, guarantors, and borrowers, and the negotiation of intercreditor relationships, co-production arrangements, split rights deals, and complex collection account and custodial agreements controlling the administration of proceeds. Mr. Clark has also represented clients in the acquisition and sale of high profile book and life story rights, and often represents prominent brands in the creation of branded entertainment content.

Mr. Clark earned his B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1992 and his J.D. from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles in 1996. Mr. Clark has written articles, and often speaks on the topic of independent film financing. He is admitted to practice in California and the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Sheppard Mullin has more than 340 attorneys among its seven offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Barbara, West Los Angeles, and Del Mar Heights. The full-service firm provides counsel in Antitrust & Trade Regulation; White Collar and Civil Fraud Defense; Business Litigation; Construction, Environmental, Real Estate & Land Use Litigation; Corporate; Entertainment, Media & Communications; Finance & Bankruptcy; Financial Institutions; Government Contracts & Regulated Industries; Healthcare; Intellectual Property; Labor & Employment; Real Estate, Land Use, Natural Resources & Environment; and Tax, Employee Benefits, Trusts & Estates. The firm celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2002.

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