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Hooray For Hollywood…And Sheppard Mullin


Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP announced today that it has added four partners, Marty Katz, Tom Leo, Linda Michaelson and David Sands, who all joined the Firm as partners in the newly-created multi-disciplinary Entertainment, Media & Communications Team in the Los Angeles office. The four attorneys joined the Firm on January 14, 2003. With more than 340 lawyers, the Firm continues to expand. Sheppard Mullin's Los Angeles office now has more than 170 attorneys and ranks among the city's ten largest law firms.

"I am extremely pleased to have such a superior team of attorneys join our Firm. Part of our business plan is to be a dominant provider of legal services in key markets and industries. The addition of a powerhouse entertainment practice fulfills that goal in spades and fits perfectly with our strength in California. This is a great day for Sheppard Mullin," said Guy Halgren, Chair of the Executive Committee.

Added Joe Coyne, trial lawyer and Executive Committee member focused on the Firm's strategic planning and growth initiative, "Since Los Angeles is the entertainment center of the world, we decided Sheppard Mullin should have a first-class entertainment practice. These four extremely talented attorneys are the foundation on which we will build an unrivaled entertainment team."

Commented Larry Braun, Chair of the Firm's Corporate Practice Group, "We are elated to welcome these four prominent attorneys, known for helping to shape the landscape of today's entertainment industry. Their addition not only meshes well with our existing strengths, but also allows us to build a superior entertainment, media and communications team."

Marty Katz, who will lead the entertainment litigation team, said, "The entertainment, communications and media industries have entered a period of profound change, exemplified by M&A activity and complex film financings. We believe that Sheppard Mullin's expertise in the litigation, corporate, and bankruptcy arena coupled with our strengths will provide an incomparable platform for expanding services to clients, as well as creating a national entertainment practice."

Marty Katz is considered one of the top entertainment litigation attorneys in the entertainment industry. His practice focuses on complex business litigation, including entertainment, insurance coverage, construction defect and large commercial disputes. Mr. Katz's entertainment experience includes representation of studios, independent producers, post-production facilities and broadcasting companies on a variety of claims, including those related to motion picture and television distribution rights, broadcast content, talent disputes, employee misconduct, vertical integration, idea submission, profit participation and accounting issues. Additionally, Mr. Katz has substantial trial and appellate experience.

Mr. Katz received his B.A. from Northwestern University in 1980 (Phi Beta Kappa) and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1983.

Tom Leo's practice focuses on entertainment finance, secured transactions and commercial law, and he has extensive experience representing a variety of entertainment entities. He has represented motion picture studios, production companies and distributors in a range of motion picture and television financing transactions, including multipicture production, financing and distribution agreements; revolving credit production finance facilities; complex secured distribution arrangements; television license financing and securitization facilities; entertainment-related merger and acquisition financings; complex intercreditor and interparty arrangements; and time-value-contingency-insured production financings.

Mr. Leo received his S.B. in computer science, his S.B. in management and his S.B. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975. He received his J.D. from the University of Southern California Law Center in 1978.

Linda Michaelson represents clients in several industries, particularly entertainment, media and financial services. She has represented motion picture studios and other media and entertainment companies in a variety of corporate transactions, including joint ventures, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, public and private financings, corporate governance and relationships among shareholders, among additional general corporate matters.

Ms. Michaelson received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Ursinus College in 1987 and received her J.D. from the Emory University School of Law in 1990.

David Sands focuses his practice on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, e-commerce and strategic alliances. He concentrates on the representation of technology and other companies involved in the media industry, and companies involved in the creation and distribution of financial products and financial services in a wide variety of transactions, including formation and initial capitalization, executive compensation and regulatory compliance matters, Internet and e-commerce arrangements, and venture capital transactions and other forms of public and private offerings, strategic alliances and partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Sands' transactional experience is particularly focused on merger and acquisition transactions involving technology companies in the media and financial services industries.

Mr. Sands has lectured and written extensively before numerous trade and industry groups on a wide range of subjects, including e-commerce and privacy, venture financing, executive compensation, regulatory compliance and strategic planning. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1984 and his J.D from the Boston University Law School in 1987. Mr. Sands serves on the State Bar of California Committee on Cyberspace Law.

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, Communications & Media; 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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