Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
One month after DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary lost its media chairman and another partner, media defense attorney James Chadwick has made a similar break, this time for the San Francisco office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. “Sheppard, Mullin has an existing media law practice, and I know and respect the people who are part of it,” said Chadwick, adding that he will bring most of his DLA clients with him when he joins the 477-lawyer firm’s entertainment, media and communications practice group. Over the past decade or so, the media law practice has been edging over from large firms into the middle market. Chadwick and other lawyers in the industry cite the high and inflexible billing rates at big firms as one reason the traditional media law practice has moved to smaller shops. “It’s not a great economic climate for media clients. There’s more pressure on rates,” he said, adding that he sees the practice now mainly concentrated in mid-sized firms. Neil Shapiro, a former media attorney at Bingham McCutchen who left to found his own firm in Monterey when rates at Bingham soared after a 2002 merger, agreed. “It’s like what they say about premium gas: If you don’t need it, don’t pay for it, and [media clients] try not to,” he said. “The real crunch comes when a lawyer they know and like goes to a place that makes them charge too much. I think that’s one reason that media lawyers that get snapped up by giant firms leave.” In April, former DLA Piper media head Roger Myers and partner Rachel Matteo-Boehm took their practice to 250-lawyer Holme Roberts & Owen, where they said they found an opportunity to grow their business. “We were looking for a place that wanted to build a media and IP practice,” Myers said at the time. “[Holme was] willing to put resources behind the practice.” Karl Olson, who represents The Recorder and left Cooper, White & Cooper to found his own firm, Levy, Ram & Olson, said in an earlier interview that many companies, newspapers in particular, are unwilling to pay big-firm rates for the day-to-day work, such as editorial content review, but are still likely to use the big firms for “multibillion-dollar deals.” For the firms that take on media defense lawyers, it is more likely than not to augment a thriving entertainment or communications practice. Sheppard, Mullin has been on a national expansion streak, bulking up its media defense group from 16 in 2003 to more than 50 today. “If you’re committed to the entertainment, media and communications space more broadly, then you’ll want a top-notch media defense practice as a component of that group,” said the group’s co-chairman, Martin Katz. The firm is also looking to broaden its sports and music groups, he said.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.