Ryan Kavanaugh’s troubled Relativity Media is taking another a hit with the departure of Hillel Elkins, the studio’s executive vice president of business and legal affairs.
Elkins said that after two roller-coaster years at Beverly Hills-based Relativity, he decided to move back to private practice and join Century City’s Sklar Kirsh as a partner. He previously served as general counsel of Blumhouse Productions in Beverly Hills.
“A good deal of my time at Relativity has been turbulent, but it was a really informative experience,” Elkins said. “This opportunity that came up was unique and gives me the chance to work with people I know and respect. It was more about that than any issues at Relativity. I have a good relationship with the company and will continue to work with people there.”
At Relativity, Elkins oversaw deal-making related to creating, marketing, and distributing the studio’s films, while corporate transactions, capital raise, and litigation was handled by the company’s general counsel Andrew Levine. Levine, who joined Relativity from T-Mobile USA Inc. in 2015, remains at the company.
Elkins’ is the third entertainment industry general counsel to join Sklar Kirsh in the past four years, and the second Relativity alum – partner Michael Rosner joined in 2013 immediately after heading up the studio’s legal department. The firm also added ex-Deluxe Entertainment general counsel Scott Ehrlich, a mergers and acquisitions specialist, in 2016.
The lineup of former in-house talent is complementary, according to Elkins, who specializes in television and film, distribution, and production finance deals primarily. Elkins said the trio’s combined knowledge was something few firms had.
“Our experience gives us insight and perspective that’s unique from law firm lawyers who haven’t worked in-house,” he said.
For Relativity, the departure of Elkins is the latest in a string of setbacks for Kavanaugh’s once thriving studio.
The company emerged from bankruptcy last March, but remained highly leveraged. The studio ultimately gave a majority stake in its business to Singapore’s YuuZoo Corp. Ltd. for up to $250 million.
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