O'Melveny & Myers
Robert Schwartz of O'Melveny & Myers is considered a top-gun litigator for motion picture studios when they face threats from those wanting a bigger "fraction of the action" actors, writers and others who think they are getting short-changed on their contracts.
Currently, Schwartz is the lead attorney representing seven studios in what has become known as the "Garrison case" named after Jim Garrison, author of the book that became the basis for Oliver Stone's assassination conspiracy hit "JFK."
The heirs of Garrison have alleged that the studios are, in fact, a combine and have colluded to ram "net profit" contracts down the throats of talent. But Schwartz said it is not the contracts that studios ink with writers and actors that are at fault it is the huge salaries that stars make that's cutting into the gravy for everybody else.
"When you pay Harrison Ford 10 percent (of gross), it makes it very difficult for films to throw off net," he said.
Outside of Hollywood, Schwartz is known for his expertise on Internet law, and also for representing auto maker Nissan in a famous case in which El Segundo-based Mattel Inc. has alleged that Nissan trampled upon a hallowed trademark Barbie. That case is pending.
A graduate of UCLA and USC law school, and a Los Angeles native, Schwartz is "very knowledgeable about the entertainment industry and a first-class litigator. I have worked with him for 10 years," said John Schulman, general counsel at Warner Bros.
Schwartz is also known for his long hours. "Yes, I work 60 to 80 hours a week," he said. "I usually take work home with me, and I work both days on many weekends."
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