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NAME AND TITLE: Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, general counsel AGE: 34 UNION TO THE STARS: The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), established in 1933, represents nearly 120,000 actors working in theatrical and industrial films, television, commercials, video games, music videos and new media. The guild negotiates and enforces collective bargaining agreements that set compensation, benefits and working conditions for performers working with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and many independent film production companies. SAG, headquartered in Los Angeles, is a substantial operation in its own right, with 350 employees, a $60 million annual budget and 20 branch offices nationwide. ROUTE TO PRESENT POSITION: Crabtree-Ireland, after taking his bachelor’s degree in 1994 from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, studied at the University of California, Davis School of Law. While still in law school he began working at the Law Offices of Mary R. Campbell in Sacramento, Calif., and continued working there for a year after passing the bar in 1998. Crabtree-Ireland left in 1999 for a position as a deputy in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where he remained for two years before taking the job of associate attorney at SAG in 2000. Crabtree-Ireland was promoted twice before being named general counsel in August 2006. He described his position at SAG as a “dream job,” but it was not his specific dream. “I did not have some grand master plan to end up here,” he said. “When I was in law school I was interested in criminal law-criminal prosecution specifically-and labor law. I was a DA for two years and did 23 jury trials. By the end of my second year I was burned out being in trial all the time. I wanted something in-house, and this opportunity came up. It is labor law, and it worked out for me.” LEGAL TEAM: The SAG legal department includes 12 attorneys, three case managers and eight support staff. The various staff attorneys have expertise in labor law, entertainment law, transactions, litigation, motion picture finance and secured intellectual property transactions. “We have some folks who are former trial lawyers, like myself, which is useful because we do a significant number of arbitrations and grievances,” said Crabtree-Ireland. OUTSIDE COUNSEL: SAG’s primary outside counsel is Geffner & Bush of Burbank, Calif. The firm handles most of SAG’s traditional labor work as well as secured intellectual property transactions and bankruptcy matters. SAG retains, as needed, Rottman Kaplan and Friedman & Friedman of Beverly Hills, Calif.; McCarthy, Johnson & Miller and Altshuler Berzon of San Francisco; Greenbaum & Katz of Newport Beach, Calif.; the Newport Beach office of O’Melveny & Myers; Heller Ehrman’s Los Angeles office; Curiale Dellaverson Hirschfeld & Kraemer of Santa Monica, Calif.; and Bredhoff & Kaiser of Washington. TYPICAL DAY: Crabtree-Ireland’s work day can vary from the mundane legal chores faced by any organization the size of SAG to helping obtain the special O-1 visas reserved for “aliens of extraordinary ability.” “Like every general counsel will tell you, [human resource] issues get more and more complicated,” he said. “I assist with lobbying and government relations; I’m responsible for handling opinion requests for O-1 visas; and I am primarily responsible for the legal work associated with the annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which is currently broadcast on TNT and TBS in the USA, and on various television networks around the world.” Crabtree-Ireland reports to SAG National Executive Director Doug Allen. RESIDUAL OBLIGATIONS: Because there is no business like show business, SAG has challenges like no other union. Many movies are the product of independent film production companies working through shell companies created specifically to produce a single movie, Crabtree-Ireland said. To make certain that SAG actors can collect residuals, the guild takes a security interest in the copyright of the motion picture. “We take copyright mortgages and, as far as I know, we may be the only people in this country other than banks that have an active foreclosure process for films,” said Crabtree-Ireland. “Right at the very beginning of the production process, as a condition of using our members, the company has to give us a security interest in the copyright of the film. As long as everyone down the line pays the residuals, there is no problem. But if someday somebody does not pay the residuals, we have a way of recovering the copyright in the picture as collateral for the debt they have incurred to our members.” NEW MEDIA: Entertainment on the Internet poses new opportunities for actors, but also new challenges to getting paid, Crabtree-Ireland said. SAG and the companies that employ SAG actors are watching the future of entertainment unfold. “In the long run, new technologies are going to be great for actors. The issue is how do we assure that actors are appropriately compensated,” he said. “Our signatories are investing huge amounts of resources in making sure they remain viable players in whatever new media and technologies come out. While there might be more seats at the negotiating table, a lot of the same companies will be involved in these new technologies.” PERSONAL: Crabtree-Ireland and his partner, John Crabtree-Ireland, were married in Canada and have a domestic partnership under California law. They have an adopted son, Watson, 2. Crabtree-Ireland lists sailing, reading, movies, television and travel as hobbies, but battling discrimination is his passion. “The entertainment industry has a real problem casting openly gay actors,” he said. “Being an openly gay lawyer gives me a lot of empathy. For me it is much better to be out there and say, ‘Look, this is who I am.’ “I’d rather know if someone has a problem with that than be unhappy working with people who don’t respect that. The guild has been great, and so was the L.A. DA’s office. I always felt I was treated fairly and with respect.” LAST BOOKS READ: Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, and Strange Candy, by Laurell K. Hamilton. LAST MOVIES SEEN: The Queen and The Last King of Scotland.

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