Press Releases

Sheppard Mullin Mourns Passing of Special Counsel Kelly Crabb

October 30, 2019

It is with great sadness Sheppard Mullin announces the passing of our colleague Kelly C. Crabb. Kelly died October 27, 2019 at his home surrounded by his family. Kelly joined the firm in January 2010 as a partner in the firm’s Entertainment, Technology and Advertising practice group.

"Throughout his career at Sheppard Mullin, Kelly was a tremendous colleague who was a joy to work with and a consummate professional," said Guy Halgren, chairman of Sheppard Mullin. "He had a fascinating entertainment- and sports-focused practice which included representing the Beijing, London and Rio Olympic Committees, Elizabeth Smart in connection with her book deal, and several Japanese entertainment companies. We will greatly miss having Kelly as a part of the Sheppard Mullin family."

Kelly’s practice emphasized an entertainment, sports and media focus and included a mix of sophisticated and complex financing, production and content work for substantial U.S., Asian and European companies. Kelly was well known in the sports world, having served as legal counsel in connection with four Olympic Games. He worked on the broadcasting agreement and other projects for the Rio 2016 Olympic Committee, on the broadcasting agreement for the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (2012) and entertainment projects for the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee for the Winter Games of 2002. Kelly acted as head international counsel to the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee for the XXIX Olympiad in 2008. In one of the top sports news stories of 2004, Kelly successfully represented Paul Hamm, the Olympic all-around gymnastics champion, in connection with a dispute arising at the Athens Games before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, Switzerland. In other significant sports-related work, he performed professional services for NBA China and Major League Baseball in China.

"Without question, Kelly was highly experienced and recognized in the arena of international entertainment and media, but, more importantly, he was universally well-regarded as a terrific mentor and loyal partner and friend," shared partner Robert Darwell, who helped recruit Kelly to the firm nearly a decade ago.

Kelly had high-level and high-profile clients and cross-border deal experience in Japan, China, Korea, Russia, and Australia. For example, he represented Paul McCartney in connection with his world tour; Dave Matthews in connection with a management agreement; and Charles Barkley in an endorsement deal in Japan. He also represented high-level motion picture and television producers. Kelly also handled the publishing of the New York Times Best-Seller My Story for Elizabeth Smart. He also handled the media rights for Ms. Smart's story, one of the major news events of 2003.

Kelly was also a frequent lecturer on entertainment and sports law and a recognized author. His book, The Movie Business, published by Simon & Schuster in 2005, is still regarded as a major work in the filmed entertainment community worldwide. His second book, The Sports Business, was used, in manuscript form, in his class, "Sports Law in Practice," he taught at USC Law School for several years.

He received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1984, where he was an editor of the Columbia Law Review from 1982-1984. He received his Master’s in Public Administration in 1973 and his Bachelor of Arts in 1971 from Brigham Young University.