Rand S. April
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Specialty: Real estate law
Law School: Columbia University, 1975
Career Highlights: Represented Merrill Lynch & Co as underwriter in several initial public offerings, and Sumitomo Trust and Banking Co. Ltd. in numerous debt restructurings.

Rand April is one of those lawyers who looks at things as part of a grand design. That might be why, as he said, "if I wasn't a lawyer, I would have probably been an architect."

He has represented the owners of the ultra-stylish Standard Hotel on Sunset Boulevard and on their new Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. "I take great pleasure in architecture, it's something tangible and solid and you can see the results of your efforts," he said.

April, who heads the L.A. office of Skadden Arps, has built a lucrative business on both real estate and corporate transactions.

He has worked on a number of hotel projects, including the Grand Hyatt Union Square Hotel in San Francisco and the Radisson Hotel in Manhattan Beach, and in restructurings involving numerous apartment projects including the Warner Center Apartments in Woodland Hills.

One of the higher-profile workouts he has been involved in is the restructuring of the $40 million loan on the Rodeo Collection, an 80,000-square-foot retail mall on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

His client list also includes Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, the Motion Picture Association of America, and shopping mall owner Westfield America.

Jacob A. Bloom
Bloom, Hergott, Diemer & Cook
Specialty: Entertainment law
Law School: Cornell University, 1966
Career Highlights: Negotiating contracts for Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicolas Cage and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For many in Los Angeles, Jake Bloom's name is synonymous with the inner circles of Hollywood.

The firm he co-founded represents some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and his own glittering list includes producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Brian Grazer, directors Michael Bay and Ron Howard, and actors Jet Li, Nicolas Cage and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others.

But his reach extends far beyond Los Angeles. He routinely helps negotiate international movie distribution rights.

Of late, Bloom has branched out from the movie and television business to represent some of the superstars of professional sports, as well as up-and-comers in the new-media field. He represented Deion Sanders last year in negotiating the football player's marketing and licensing agreements with Universal Studios. Bloom also serves on the board of United Internet Technologies, a licenser of smart toy technology.

One of Bloom's strengths is getting deals done, rather than haggling over inconsequential details.

"He's expeditious when it comes to contracts, which makes him someone you love to see on the other side of a deal, especially an intellectual property transaction," says Christopher Murray of O'Melveny & Myers.

Michael Bay, director of the upcoming feature "Pearl Harbor," has hailed him as "one of the biggest lawyers in Hollywood" and one of the people who convinced him to continue filming the movie when it went over budget.

In short, being seen at Spago with Bloom is enough to get Hollywood buzzing about who you are, and what kind of a deal you're cooking up.

John G. Branca
Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca & Fischer
Specialty: Music business representation
Law School: USC, 1975
Career Highlights: Negotiating contracts for Michael Jackson, Elton John and Areosmith.

John Branca got an early start in the music business. When he was 16, he played keyboard and wrote songs for his own band. Although he ended up at USC instead of the Universal Amphitheater, Branca is fortunate enough to have combined the two passions in his life law and music into one lucrative career.

Since joining up with firm founders Kenneth Ziffren and Skip Brittenham, Branca has represented 26 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than any other music industry lawyer. He has negotiated countless recording contracts that have yielded gold records, including Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Carlos Santana's comeback "Supernatural," two of the best-selling albums of all time.

He has done work for two generations of pop stars, from Elton John to the Backstreet Boys, and represented the Rolling Stones on their "Steel Wheels" tour. Veteran rock band Aerosmith (more recently of Super Bowl halftime fame) is another satisfied client.

Branca is also the lawyer behind Ted Field and the creation of Innerscope, which many industry observers agree is the most successful independent record label in the business.

Beyond the world of music, Branca served as outside counsel for Universal Pictures on its merger with Vivendi. Currently, he has gotten involved behind the scenes in the emergence of music on the Internet, working for a number of technology companies including Lycos and MP3.com. He used his influence to help the latter dot-com to ink deals with the major record labels.

Brad Brian
Munger, Tolles & Olson
Specialty: Commercial litigation defense, white-collar criminal defense
Law School: Harvard, 1977
Career Highlights: Successfully defended former Columbia Savings & Loan chairman Tom Spiegel in a junk-bond scandal involving multiple bank fraud charges.

Attracting Fortune 500 companies has always been par for Brad Brian's legal course.

He has represented at least a dozen of them, including Litton Systems Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., Motorola Inc., General Electric Co., Allstate Insurance Co., Fluor Daniel Inc. and Jacobs Engineering.

But it was the stunning 1994 acquittal on all 45 bank fraud-related counts he gained for Tom Spiegel, former Columbia Savings & Loan chairman, that earned him a spot on the National Law Journal's top 10 list for trial lawyers that year.

"He's what I would call in football jargon a triple threat he's excellent with clients in terms of understanding their needs and expectations, he's extremely bright and he's a great trial lawyer," said John Morrissey, who has served as co-counsel with Brian. "That makes him really unique among the defense bar."

Brian's first taste of business fraud cases came when he served as an assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles from 1978 to 1981.

Those three years of public service gave him the trial experience he needed to switch over to private defense work.

He successfully defended the Boeing Co. in a $500 million suit filed by CSMC of Colorado, which claimed that Boeing interfered with its contract with the Russians to market commercial satellite launches around the world.

Harry 'Skip' Brittenham
Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca & Fischer
Specialty: Entertainment law
Law School: UCLA, 1979
Career Highlights: Representing Harrison Ford, Miramax co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein and Michael J. Fox.

Skip Brittenham is an outsized personality at one of the largest television, music and motion picture practices in the world.

"He's the seller," says co-partner John Branca.

As senior partner, Brittenham has been involved in a broad range of merger-and-acquisition advisory work and financings within the entertainment industry. Among his impressive stable of clients are such personalities as Harrison Ford, Joe Roth, Michael J. Fox and Eddie Murphy.

Last May, Brittenham went to bat for the Weinsteins in their negotiations with the Walt Disney Co., extending the brothers' lucrative contract as co-chairmen of Miramax for another seven years.

Like many of his peers, Brittenham has also begun to dabble in the Internet. He represented both DreamWorks SKG and Imagine Entertainment in the formation of Pop.com last year. Perhaps more successfully, he recently persuaded his friend, Ted Field of Innerscope Records, to join him on the board of Internet advertising analysis company Strategic Data Corp., which is expected to go live at the end of this month.

"Skip's knowledge of deals and of the important players in the industry and the world is fabulous," says Lee Cooper, a friend of over 40 years and chairman of Strategic Data. "He's been crucial to the evolution of our business and is one of the most helpful board members. In fact, our board exists mostly because of Skip and his connections."

Bruce Broillet
Greene, Broillet, Taylor, Wheeler & Panish
Specialty: Plaintiff civil product liability
Law School: University of Texas at Austin, 1974
Career highlights: Represented Los Angeles County in a multibillion-dollar claim against the tobacco industry.

Anti-smoking advocates who cringed every time they saw that giant Marlboro Man staring them down as they cruised the Sunset Strip have Bruce Broillet to thank in part for the billboard's demise.

He and Orange County attorney Mark Robinson were the lead attorneys in Los Angeles County's lawsuit against the tobacco industry which ultimately ended in a nationwide settlement that will bring the county an estimated $3.5 billion over 25 years for health care and education.

Not a bad payout considering the litigation, which stretched through much of the latter half of the 1990s, didn't cost local taxpayers any money.

"We weren't going to put any county dollars into the litigation, so we needed to select attorneys who had experience and financial resources to be able to focus the activities in a productive way," said Roberta Fesler, senior assistant county counsel. "(Broillet) was very persuasive and effective in communicating the points he wanted to make. He was very well prepared and the information was presented in a non-legalistic manner."

Broillet began his career defending corporations, but an affinity for the little guy resulted in his crossing the legal corridor after only a year and a half.

His first large judgment came in 1979 when General Motors was ordered to pay $670,000 to La Mirada resident Kenneth Allen, who suffered a brain stem injury affecting his sense of balance after the door of a van became unhinged and crashed down on his head.

"It was a thrilling victory because I knew who I was opposing," said Broillet. "I believe the kind of work I do encourages corporations to follow better business practices."

Terry Christensen
Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro
Specialty: Mergers and acquisitions
Law School: USC, 1965
Career Highlight: Currently representing Tracinda Corp. in its multibillion-dollar case against DaimlerChrysler.

Given his success in representing various clients in the business community, it stands to reason that Terry Christensen has become known as an astute businessman in his own right.

"He combines trial advocacy skills with business acumen, which is difficult to find," said Peter Sadowsky, general counsel for Fidelity National Title Co.

Christensen recently won one of the largest securities cases in the country when he defended the officers and directors of Fidelity Bankers Life Insurance Co., who had been sued by the Virginia state insurance commissioner for more than $300 million. The Virginia jury unanimously sided with Christensen's clients on all counts.

Despite a career full of big-money victories, Christensen's current case, representing Tracinda Corp. against DaimlerChrysler in an $8 billion lawsuit, is his largest yet.

"Terry's unique in that he's not just a lawyer, he's also got a keen sense of the business realities of the legal advice that he gives," said Alex Yemenidjian, chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. "We have found that his advice is always so sound that he's beyond the law. That's why we put him on the board of MGM Mirage."

In fact, Christensen serves on the boards of four public companies.

In 1988, Christensen formed the law firm now known as Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, and he has served as managing partner from the start. During that time, the firm has grown from 14 to 128 attorneys. Christensen says the success of the firm is due in part to a common approach among the partners towards how they conduct their business.

"We've been a partnership for 13 years and we've never had a vote," Christensen said, meaning that all decisions have been based on consensus among the partners.

Morgan Chu
Irell & Manella
Specialty: Intellectual property and technologies litigation
Law School: Harvard, 1976
Career Highlight: Won a $1 billion patent infringement settlement for Texas Instruments Inc.

Morgan Chu established himself as one of the nation's best intellectual property litigators by winning a $120 million jury verdict for Stac Electronics in a data-compression products patent infringement case against Microsoft.

But that was just a warm up.

Two years later, Chu won a $1 billion settlement and new licensing agreement for Texas Instruments Inc. against Samsung in another patent infringement case.

The lawyer's compensation for such gargantuan victories is, of course, great. But Chu insists that his attraction to this field of law is more than wallet-deep. In short, his practice has enabled him to have Tuesdays that are always totally different from his Mondays.

"When you're dealing with patents, you're dealing with inventions," he said. "Everyday I'm getting to learn about these new technologies from the leaders in the field."

He was drawn into the field during one of his first cases a successful defense in 1979 of Mattel Inc., which had been sued by a man claiming the company stole his computer-parts patent for some electronic hand-held games.

More recently, Chu won a 1997 case against West Publishing Co., which was arguing that his client, Matthew Bender & Co., could not use West's page-numbering system for publishing state and federal court decisions.

His current clients include Hewlett-Packard Co., Compaq Computer Corp., Affymetrix Inc., St. Jude Medical Inc., AT & T; Corp., CarsDirect.com and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Bruce Clemens
Jaffe & Clemens
Specialty: Family law
Law School: UCLA, 1974
Career Highlights: Represented the wives of James Cameron and Rupert Murdoch in their divorces.

One of Bruce Clemens' first jobs after law school was as an associate at Loeb & Loeb, where he met Jerry Goldberg. "My introduction to family law was at the highest level because Jerry was certainly on the 'A' list of Los Angeles' most prominent divorce attorneys," Clemens recalled.

Today, Clemens himself is well ensconced on that "A" list.

Charging a $600 hourly rate, Clemens, along with partner Dan Jaffe, has handled scores of high-profile splits where the marital estates exceeded $250 million.

While jealously guarding his clients' privacy, Clemens confirmed that he and Jaffe have represented the wives of James Cameron and media mogul Rupert Murdoch in their divorces, adding that they "have also represented Academy Award actors, studio heads and CEOs of large national corporations and financial institutions."

While agreeing that there tends to be a significant up-tick in divorces when the economy swings up or down, Clemens said that pattern doesn't apply to his practice.

"We are representing extremely wealthy people, so I don't see that relationship in our practice because our clients can always afford to get divorced or, in the alternative, can never afford to get divorced," he said.

Despite the emotionally draining nature of divorce law, Clemens clearly has a passion for what he does. "I find divorce law exciting and stimulating and rewarding," he said. "I work way too many hours, and I love them all."

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.
Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith
Specialty: Criminal law
Law School: Loyola University School of Law, 1962
Career Highlights: Represented O.J. Simpson in murder trial in which the former football star was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife and her friend.

"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." It's a simple rhyme, even trite. But it was enough to lift Johnnie Cochran into another realm of law and fame during the O.J. Simpson trial. The high-profile Simpson case broadcast live around the world made the L.A. attorney a household name and a media star.

Shortly after the marathon trial finished with Simpson walking free, Cochran became one of the most sought-after criminal defense lawyers in the country. Currently, he is helping to defend rap star Sean "Puffy" Combs on gun possession and bribery charges in Manhattan.

"He's a good lawyer because he has a great courtroom demeanor," said Cameron Stewart, managing partner with Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith.

Cochran, who grew up in Shreveport, La., has a long list of famous clients that he has successfully defended. One of those is Geronimo Pratt, a former Black Panther who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he maintained he did not commit. Cochran won Pratt's freedom in 1997 after the murder conviction was overturned. Pratt was awarded a $4.5 million settlement.

Cochran, however, doesn't defend only the famous. Many of his clients are ordinary people facing serious charges. Currently, Cochran is defending Compton high school basketball coach Russell Otis, who is accused of molesting a 17-year-old player.

Cochran got his start working as a deputy city attorney in Los Angeles, assigned to the criminal division. He left to found the law firm of Cochran, Atkins & Evans, where he handled both civil and criminal cases. In 1992, he won a jury award that at the time was the highest in L.A. city history. It was a police misconduct case on behalf of a 13-year-old girl molested by a Los Angeles police officer.

Michael Diamond
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
Specialty: Securities, corporate governance and shareholder disputes
Law School: Columbia University, 1969
Career Highlights: Represented the Walt Disney Co. in its defense against a hostile takeover attempt by Reliance Insurance; represented Kidder Peabody when it was sued as part of the Orange County bankruptcy.

What do the Walt Disney Co. and Orange County have in common besides Disneyland? They both hired Michael Diamond to represent them in high-profile cases.

The attempted hostile takeover of the Walt Disney Co. in 1984 by Reliance Insurance was settled when the entertainment giant spent about $60 million to purchase the stock that Reliance had bought.

Then 10 years later, Diamond represented Kidder Peabody, which was one of several securities firms sued by Orange County as part of the largest county bankruptcy in U.S. history.

"The county claimed that several brokerage firms, including Kidder Peabody, acted improperly by selling reverse repurchase agreements," Diamond said. After several months of litigation, the combined suits were settled for about $20 million.

Most recently, Diamond joined forces with the firm's New York office to win a federal court jury trial in a trademark infringement suit on behalf of Dermablend, a subsidiary of L'Oreal USA. The jury found that by using "Quick Fix" on its packaging, Dermablend's competitor, Physicians Formula Cosmetics Inc., infringed on the L'Oreal trademark "Quick-Fix," which it has owned since 1989.

The verdict was issued earlier this month; terms were not disclosed.

"This is a great place to practice law," Diamond said. "It just seems there are more groundbreaking cases in Los Angeles. The economy presents more groundbreaking issues that have become the subject of disputes and actual litigation."

John A. Donovan
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Specialty: Antitrust, international oil and gas and securities litigation
Law School: Fordham University, 1967
Career Highlights: Represented Atlantic Richfield in disputes involving the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field in Alaska, and Continental Airlines in the 1983 bankruptcy that reorganized the airline.

Major companies, finding themselves in legal hot water, often turn to John Donovan for relief. One likely reason is that Donovan has won several high-profile cases over the past three decades.

For example, he secured judgments worth billions of dollars for the Atlantic Richfield Co., in a case involving the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field in Alaska. He also represented the developer of Florida housing developments largely destroyed by Hurricane Andrew, and Continental Airlines in the 1983 bankruptcy that succeeded in reorganizing the airline over the protests of the carrier's unions.

"He has an ability to understand very technical cases, which is an asset when it comes to representing oil companies," said Dave Marquez, chief counsel for Phillips Alaska Inc.

Besides representing airlines and oil companies, Donovan has worked in the entertainment industry litigating antitrust, copyright, accounting, plagiarism and contract cases.

"I like the technical aspects of my business," said Donovan. "I'm lucky because I can take cases where I can add some value and I'm interested in the subject matter."

Larry Feldman
Fogel, Feldman, Ostrov, Ringler & Klevens
Specialty: Civil, personal injury, negligence and breach of contract
Law School: Loyola University, 1969
Career highlights: Successfully defended Exxon in a $1 billion lawsuit filed by the state of California; won a massive settlement against Michael Jackson on allegations that the singer had molested a teen-age boy.

High-profile criminal defense attorneys Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran share a common denominator aside from helping O.J. Simpson beat the rap: When they each became the subject of a civil lawsuit, they each turned to Larry Feldman for defense.

The lure? Feldman has won hundreds of cases over the past three decades.

He successfully defended the libel suit against Shapiro, filed in 1995 by former Los Angeles Police Department officer Mark Furhman and ultimately thrown out. And Feldman has scored victories in two palimony suits filed against Cochran by the woman who gave birth to his son in the early 1970s. One of those cases remains on appeal.

In a case four years ago, Feldman's client David Rintels, a writer-producer suing a Century City law firm for legal malpractice, was awarded $4 million by a jury. He later settled for less to avoid an appeal.

"Having Larry as a lawyer is like having an older brother and protector who fights for you," said Rintels. "He's wonderful to see in court. He has a strong sense about fairness and justice. He takes it personally. And, of course, he's extremely smart and always totally prepared."

It was Feldman who scored a settlement from Michael Jackson, reported to be $20 million to $25 million, on behalf of a West Los Angeles dentist whose then-13-year-old son alleged that he had been molested by the singer.

But his career highlight to date has been his successful defense in 1999 of Exxon in a $1 billion lawsuit filed by the state of California, which claimed that the oil giant was not paying fair royalties from its drilling operations.

"I understand the basis on which one needs to communicate to a jury," says Feldman. "You need to find the key issues that will cause the jury to see the case the way your client does."

Bertram Fields
Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman, Machtinger & Kinsella
Specialty: Entertainment law
Law School: Harvard, 1952
Career Highlight: Represented Jeffrey Katzenberg in his suit against the Walt Disney Co.

Bertram Fields, hailed as one of the city's top entertainment attorneys and litigators, continues to prove himself a man for all seasons. His client list includes actors Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty, directors James Cameron and Mike Nichols. He has written two novels (under a pseudonym), and more recently, has used his legal expertise in his latest nonfiction offering, "Royal Blood," an examination of the life and death of Richard III.

Over the course of his legal career, Fields has represented almost every major Hollywood studio. But he has also never been afraid to go up against the big boys.

Field sued Steven Speilberg on behalf of an obscure novelist over the basis of "Amistad." He has taken on the Walt Disney Co. on several occasions, including representing Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's effort to block Disney from using the "MGM-Disney Studios" name outside the United States, and handling Jeffrey Katzenberg's suit against his former boss, Michael Eisner, and Disney for a share of the profits in the hit films that Katzenberg had green-lighted while at the studio. Disney was found liable of breaching his contract in the first phase of the trial and settled for $250 million before the case reached the damages phase.

"It was a hard-fought case. I'd say my client was thrilled with the results," said Fields, who lists the case as one of his favorites.

Another favorite Fields case involved the Beatles and their suit over the play, "Beatlemania."

"It was a rip-off of a Beatles concert," said Fields, who hung out with the Fab Four while making sure that the court issued an injunction shutting down the popular play.

Fields just finished defending Oscar de la Hoya in the prizefighter's contract dispute with Bob Arum's Top Rank Inc. In that case, Fields argued successfully that terms of de la Hoya's contract violated California's State Boxing Act, freeing his client up to pursue other managers.

Fields finds time to write on weekends and vacations, and is at work on a book about Shakespeare. His knowledge of Elizabethan intrigue is certain to have been vastly improved by his experiences inside Hollywood.

Tom Girardi
Girardi & Keese
Specialty: Plaintiff toxic litigation, product liability, patent infringement
Law School: Loyola University, 1964; New York University, 1965
Career Highlight: A $333 million settlement against Pacific Gas & Electric.

Although Ed Masry was portrayed by Albert Finney in the hit movie "Erin Brockovich," he did not work alone in securing a $333 million settlement in 1997 from Pacific Gas & Electric as compensation for contaminating Hinkley, Calif.'s drinking water supply with the carcinogen chromium 6.

Lacking the financial resources and trial experience against big corporations, he turned to Tom Girardi, who along with co-counsel Walter Lack, spent $12 million on expert testimony, investigating the case and other expenses.

"It took us five minutes to come to an agreement on how we were going to handle the case and how they were going to advance my law firm monies to keep the case going," recalls Masry, who had by 1993 already taken out a second mortgage on his house and sold his retirement home to take the case as far as he could by himself. "Tom's handshake is as good as gold. Before we had an agreement in writing, they gave me $1.5 million or $2 million."

Girardi is currently suing Disney for negligence following an accident last September that left a 4-year-old boy permanently brain damaged.

The boy was thrown out of a spinning "tea cup" on the Roger Rabbit ride and was crushed by the oncoming seating area.

Medical bills alone for a lifetime of 24-hour care will run into the tens of millions of dollars, he says.

But massive monetary awards are nothing new to Girardi, who has secured more than 230 of them in his career, including a 1969 jury verdict that was the state's first-ever seven-figure award.

Patricia L. Glaser
Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro
Specialty: Business litigation
Law School: Rutgers University, 1973
Career Highlight: MGM retroactive insurance litigation, settled for $76 million after jury was impaneled.

In a business where deals have been made on a handshake in the hallway, lawyers live and die based on their reputation. Patricia Glaser's colleagues say her integrity in the courtroom has contributed to her wealth of success.

"She's a very worthy adversary," said Robert Mangels, senior partner at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro.

Glaser is the co-chair of her firm's litigation department, and has handled several complex cases, including a $76 million settlement that MGM won against its insurers involving the MGM Grand fire.

Glaser said that despite the perks of being a successful lawyer, she genuinely loves her profession for the intellectual stimulation it provides her.

"I feel like a baseball player," she said. "I can't believe I'm getting paid so much money to have a good time."

The MGM case, she said, was one of her favorites.

"Based on complexity and dollars, complexity first, that was a big one for me," she said.

More recently, Glaser represented Marsu, the European parent of Marsupilami, a former character in the Disney animal kingdom, claiming that Disney's decision to abandon the mouse/marsupial hybrid cost the company millions. The court judgment for the plaintiff was for $10.4 million, plus attorney fees and costs.

She also took part in a federal court receivership involving $100 million in cash and real estate.

"She has a unique ability to be aware of virtually everything that goes on in the courtroom. Nothing passes her by. I can't say that about most lawyers," said Judge Judith C. Chrlin.

Browne Greene
Greene, Broillet, Taylor, Wheeler & Panish
Specialty: Product liability, personal injury, bad-faith insurance agreements
Law School: George Washington University, 1961
Career Highlights: Currently representing victims of two airline crashes and defective Firestone tires.

At 6-foot-3 with dark hair and a trademark bow tie, colleagues say Browne Greene bears more than a passing resemblance to Abe Lincoln.

While Lincoln reached the zenith of political power, Greene may have landed more million-dollar awards than any lawyer in California.

"I'm not Perry Mason," he said. "I don't win them all."

But his reputation for winning lots of big-money cases has garnered numerous clients whose loved ones are victims of public-safety crises that are right off the front pages of the national media: the Singapore Airlines crash in Taiwan last October; the Alaska Airlines crash off the shore of Port Hueneme a year ago, and car accidents caused by Firestone tires blowing out.

Greene also represents former "Phantom of the Opera" lead actor Michael Crawford, who is suing the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas after an EFX show he was performing in went awry, leaving him with what Greene says are permanent injuries that required a hip replacement.

One of his first big awards came in 1976, when he won a $1.2 million jury verdict for a man whose fingers on both hands were cut off in an industrial accident. That bonanza came after he initially attempted to settle the case for $250,000.

As a result of that case, Greene joined the Inner Circle of Advocates, an elite 100-member plaintiff lawyers' group whose members must each have at least one million-dollar verdict for compensatory damages alone (excluding punitive damages), and have had jury verdicts in at least 50 civil trials.

Marshall Grossman
Alschuler, Grossman, Stein & Kahan
Specialty: Business litigation
Law School: USC, 1964
Career Highlight: Won a $350 million award for Guess Jeans.

Nothing comes between Marshall Grossman and his client Guess Inc.

The owners of Guess sold a 50 percent stake in their company to Jordache Enterprises Inc. for $5 million in 1985, but subsequent to that sale, they discovered that Jordache had been using Guess designs for Jordache jeans.

Guess turned to Grossman, who convinced a jury to return a verdict in his client's favor. Jordache was ultimately persuaded to settle, returning the 50 percent equity stake to the original owners and cash. The total settlement value was a cool $350 million.

In another case, several of the nation's largest clothing manufacturers found themselves the targets of 1999 class-action lawsuit seeking to improve working conditions in Saipan, where a lot of the clothes are made. One defendant, Tommy Hilfiger, hired Grossman for representation.

A year later, Grossman settled his client's portion of the suit for what he calls a "negligible sum" and an agreement for improved conditions, most of which Hilfiger had proposed prior to the suit.

Grossman currently represents Big Five accounting firm Andersen Worldwide, charged in a civil lawsuit with failing to conduct a proper audit of the of books of HBOC, an Atlanta software company acquired by wholesale drug distributor McKesson in 1999.

When news of the irregularities was made public that year, the market value of McKesson dropped by $14 billion, prompting the suit by McKesson stockholders and former HBOC shareholders.

Grossman's job? To show that the accounting irregularities had been concealed from Andersen by HBOC management.

"I can't ignore the fact that it's a $14 billion lawsuit," he said. "But my job is to show that my client was not responsible for this loss, and that's what we intend to do."

Paul Grossman
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker
Specialty: Defending management in employment litigation
Law School: Yale, 1964
Career Highlights: Argued four cases before the California Supreme Court.

For Paul Grossman, it's not how much he wins for his clients, it's about how much he keeps them from having to pay out. And since he is regularly brought on to help overturn verdicts in the tens of millions of dollars, plenty of clients conclude he's worth the price.

Grossman has won two of the state's most significant employment litigation cases before the California Supreme Court in the past year alone.

The high court last March granted a new trial in a case dating back to the early 1980s. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury in 1984 ordered Hughes Aircraft Co. to pay plaintiffs Jeffrey Lane and David Villalpando $89.5 million in a celebrated discrimination suit.

In the second case, after an appeals court overturned a San Francisco Superior Court's summary judgment in favor of Bechtel National Inc., a construction company that had been sued for discrimination after it fired 22-year employee John Guz, Grossman persuaded the high court to reverse the decision last summer.

"We call it disaster mitigation," he said. "When a jury comes in with a seven-, eight-, or nine-figure verdict, we're likely to be called in to handle the post-trial arguments or appeals."

Grossman is currently serving as a consultant to lawyer Paul Cane, who is defending the makers of Wonder bread. Last year, the company was ordered to pay about two dozen plaintiffs more than $120 million for alleged discrimination.

Herbert Hafif
Office Of Herbert Hafif
Speciality: Business litigation
Law School: USC, 1956
Career Highlight: Represented Computerland investors in case resulting in huge damages award.

Herbert Hafif has been floating near the top of all measures of earnings for a long time.

In the late 1980s, Forbes magazine named him as the second wealthiest lawyer in America, with a $40 million annual income. That ranking should have been expected, since he had won 13 percent of all the multimillion-dollar jury awards in U.S. history in the late 1970s.

Since then, Hafif has continued to rack up massive wins: a $141 million punitive damages award (plus another $500 million in stock) for ComputerLand investors in a shareholder suit against the company, and a $45 million judgment against California Federal for Weyerhaeuser Mortgage Co. in a loan repayment case.

"I began giving half my earnings away in the 1970s, when I started making an obscene amount of money," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I don't have an objection to going out and buying nice things, so I don't want to sound hypocritical or spiritual about it, but I do feel an obligation to give my money away."

Barry L. Hirsch
Armstrong, Hirsch, Jackoway, Tyerman & Wertheimer
Specialty: Entertainment law
Law School: USC, 1957
Career Highlights: Negotiating contract deals for Julia Roberts, Robert Redford and Francis Ford Coppola.

There are plenty of high-powered entertainment lawyers in town, but rare are those whose clients can claim they command the top dollar. Fewer still are those whose female clients are the biggest earners in the field.

Barry Hirsch counts among his clients Julia Roberts, the top female box office draw and one of the highest paid women in Hollywood.

Among his recent negotiations, Hirsch represented filmmaker Ed Burns in hammering out the production deal for the upcoming "Sidewalks of New York," starring Burns and Heather Graham. He also helped negotiate the terms of the 10-picture deal between Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope and MGM.

"For years, ICM has shared many clients with Barry," said ICM President Jeff Berg. "He brings a deep knowledge and insight to the situation."

Hirsch's wealth of contacts and insider know-how has also helped secure him a high standing among his peers.

"He's one of the senior, outstanding lawyers in the city," said Bertram Fields of Greenberg, Glusker. "He knows as much as anyone about entertainment in L.A."

It's knowledge that Hirsch brings to his involvement in the Los Angeles Copyright Society. He has been a member for more than 35 years, helping weigh in on the intellectual and copyright issues at the heart of so many of his day-to-day activities.

Dan Jaffe
Jaffe & Clemens
Specialty: Family law
Law School: UCLA, 1962
Career Highlights: Represented the wives of James Cameron and Rupert Murdoch in their divorces.

Ask who the hottest divorce attorney in Los Angeles is these days and the name Dan Jaffe comes up a lot.

Charging a $600 hourly rate, he, along with partner Bruce Clemens, has handled countless cases where the marital estates exceeded $250 million.

While Jaffe adamantly refuses to discuss his client list, he confirmed that he and Clemens have represented the wives of James Cameron and media mogul Rupert Murdoch in their recent splits and that most of their other clients are "extremely wealthy."

"Sometimes I'll be in court with a client and, to keep things in perspective, I'll remind him that he makes more in a month than every single person in that courtroom, including the judge, makes in a year," he said.

Keeping things in perspective helps explain why only 5 percent of his cases go to trial.

"We do maybe three or four contested trials a year," he said, "One reason why is that the numbers are so large in the cases we handle. But sometimes even those contested cases are easy to settle if you just tell your client that, if they give their spouse another few millions dollars, the case will go away."

Jaffe's success in what can be a ruthless, cutthroat business may partly stem from his low-key, no-nonsense approach.

"My approach is not to try to kill the other side and get every dollar possible," he said. "My approach is to see if we can get two genuinely nice people out of a difficult situation alive and well. If we can do that, and if we can get their kids out alive and well, then we've done our job well."

Martha Jordan
Latham & Watkins
Specialty: Real estate law
Law School: UC Berkeley, 1983
Career Highlight: Played key role in reorganization of Red Lion Hotels.

As managing partner of the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins and a past head of its finance and real estate department, Martha Jordan has been actively involved in a wide array of high-profile property transactions. Among them have been the reorganization of Red Lion Hotels, the sale of Wine World Estates (including the Beringer Winery), the acquisition of Orchard Supply Hardware and the sale of the Stouffer hotel chain.

In recent years, she has been involved in numerous real estate investment trust transactions, including the initial public offering of REITs formed by Arden Realty, Kilroy Realty and Alexander Haagen Properties (now CenterTrust), as well as the complete liquidation of Wells Fargo Mortgage and Equity Trust.

In addition to her work on behalf of individual clients, under her chairmanship, Latham & Watkins topped $1 million in profits per partner last year.

Robert S. Kaufman
Kaufman & Young
Specialty: Family law
Law School: Southwestern University, 1963
Career Highlights: Represented Michael Douglas and Rupert Murdoch in their respective divorce cases.

When Splitsville hits Hollywood, divorce attorney Robert Kaufman is there to sort out the mess.

Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan and Antonio Banderas have all made use of the services of Kaufman, who is credited with developing the argument that the goodwill of a celebrity can have economic value as a property right and, therefore, should figure into divorce settlements.

Other big-name clients include actor Michael Douglas and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

"Whenever there is a big divorce case in Los Angeles or New York, he's involved. He is one of the guys who gets called in when there is $100 million on the line," said Nathan Goldberg, senior partner at Allred, Maroko & Goldberg.

After graduating from Southwestern University law school in 1963, Kaufman began specializing in family law, which he has taught at Pepperdine University and UCLA. He also lectures around the country at legal seminars and writes about divorce issues for legal magazines.

Walter Lack
Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack
Specialty: Environmental/toxic torts, personal injury, insurance bad-faith cases

Law School: Loyola University in Los Angeles, 1973
Career Highlight: Secured $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas & Electric.

Walter Lack has secured so many multimillion-dollar awards that he has lost track of the number.

But lawyers who have opposed him have not forgotten what makes him so effective: intelligence, preparedness and self-confidence oh, and he's real tough on witness cross-examinations.

"Walter goes right at them and he's usually got the goods on them," said Bob Baker, who also represented O.J. Simpson in his civil trial. "Walter has a confrontational style. It works well with his personality. And it's a lot of fun to watch if it's not your client."

Lack was part of the legal team that won a $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas & Electric for residents of Hinkley, Calif., whose water the utility giant contaminated with chromium 6.

A year ago, a court sided with his contention that residents living in San Bernadino County during the 1950s and 1960s should recover the costs of monitoring their health from Lockheed Martin, which allegedly polluted their drinking water supply with industrial chemicals. That case is now on appeal before the California Supreme Court.

Lack won a $100 million settlement two years ago from State Farm Insurance for rejecting property claims filed by 102 victims of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

He also recently won what he said would ultimately be more than $90 million from Allstate Insurance Co. to repair about 3,000 homes to their condition before the earthquake.

Lack is currently seeking what he hopes will be hundreds of billions of dollars from the tobacco industry for health care costs stemming from tobacco-related illnesses in seven foreign countries. In short, Lack is likely to add considerable additional sums to his already rich compensation.

John Lavley
Lavley & Singer
Specialty: Business litigation, with an emphasis on entertainment
Law School: University of Pennsylvania, 1969
Career Highlights: Represented Brad Pitt against Playgirl after the magazine published nude photos of him.

When one of your clients is considered among the sexiest men in the world, trouble's bound to follow him.

So Brad Pitt has relied on John Lavley over the years to help protect his image and his name.

Lavley has represented many of Hollywood's elite in defamation and privacy cases, and in 1997 he handled Pitt's suit against Playgirl magazine after it published nude photos of the Hollywood hunk frolicking on a Caribbean island with former fianc & #233;e, Gwyneth Paltrow.

The decision: a Superior Court judge recalled the issues, despite the fact that it had sold out weeks prior the decision.

Lavley said he enjoys working in the entertainment industry, but celebrities aren't always his dish.

"I enjoy cases in the entertainment industry," he said. "But I like to handle clients that are involved in all areas of the business. You become familiar with how their business works and how agreements are made the creative and business collaboration among a variety of people. And then, of course, the disputes that arise as a result of those complex relationships."

With new media come new challenges. Lavley recently handled another case for Pitt, this time against a "cyber-squatter" who had appropriated Pitt's name for a Web site.

Robert Lewis
Lewis D'Amato Brisbois & Bisgaard
Specialty: Securities transactions
Law School: UCLA, 1961
Career Highlight: Established that an insurer was not liable for the bankruptcy of an uninsured physician it had agreed to defend.

Robert Lewis most enjoys complex litigation, for the high stakes and challenge.

"Normally they're very substantial cases, multimillion-dollar lawsuits," he said. "And you're dealing with some of the most respected and successful lawyers around."

In one malpractice case, an uninsured physician argued that he was liable for a smaller portion of damages due to his bankruptcy filing. Lewis represented the insurance company on behalf of two insured doctors in the same case.

At trial, the uninsured physician was allowed to introduce evidence of his bankruptcy, and the jury allocated less liability to him. Lewis argued that the acts of the insurer had nothing to do with the uninsured physician's bankruptcy, and that learning of his bankruptcy had improperly influenced the jury. The court agreed.

In addition to his success in the courtroom, Lewis has a reputation for being an astute businessman, as evidenced by the growth of the firm that he and three others co-founded on April Fool's Day, 1979. Today the firm Lewis D'Amato Brisbois & Bisgaard boasts more than 200 lawyers across the state, with offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Costa Mesa, the Inland Empire and Sacramento.

"Bob developed his business not only internally, but he was also able to expand laterally by hiring key players and sometimes entire law firms," said U.S. District Court judge Dickran Tevrizian. "Most firms cherry-pick the rainmakers. Bob had enough respect for the other employees to absorb the entire firm."

Louis R. 'Skip' Miller III
Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro
Specialty: Litigation
Law School: UCLA, 1972
Career Highlight: Assisted the city of Los Angeles in the Rodney King civil rights action.

When it comes to complex, high-profile cases, Skip Miller is regarded as a go-to heavy hitter in Los Angeles. Along with the city attorney, he defended the city of Los Angeles in a series of cases arising from the operations of the LAPD including, among several others, the Rodney King civil rights action.

Now on the side of private-sector litigants, including a fair number of celebrity clients, Miller has vaulted into the top tier of legal moneymakers.

Miller has worked with many of Hollywood's artists and actors, such as Rod Stewart, Elton John, Paula Abdul, Nick Nolte and Bob Dylan as well as many of the major studios including MGM, Columbia and Tri-Star.

"It's great being in the courtroom with him as opposing counsel," said Guy Nicholson, litigation partner at Tisdale & Nicholson. "He's a terrific lawyer and is always well-prepared. I'd hire him."

Miller said he has no preference for the types of cases he takes, noting that in the span of his career he has tried civil rights, real estate, entertainment, securities, antitrust and even criminal cases.

"I enjoy the process, and I especially enjoy trials," Miller said. "I'm most proud of getting good results for my clients."

Other prominent cases include prevailing on behalf of a director of Executive Life Insurance Co. after a three-month trial in the largest insurance failure in California history, as well as winning a sexual harassment trial on behalf of the City of Pasadena and Rose Bowl.

"He's probably the most capable cross-examiner I have ever seen," said Dave Jacobs, retired general manager of the Rose Bowl. "He has an absolute will to win."

Christopher Murray
O'Melveny & Myers
Specialty: Entertainment and new-media law
Law School: USC, 1974
Career Highlights: Represented Warner Bros. in several multi-picture deals.

There's big money where the entertainment and the digital worlds collide. And that's where Christopher Murray just happens to be standing.

Murray represented EMI in its deal for the digital delivery of its music catalogue through MP3.com. He was involved in Yahoo's content deal with the National Basketball Association. And, he represented Warner Bros. Studios in signing big-money, multi-picture deals with Bel Air Films, Franchise Pictures and the former Castle Rock Entertainment.

After clerking for a 9th Circuit judge right after law school, Murray took a job at O'Melveny & Myers and hasn't looked back. Along the way, he has carved out a space for himself and his firm in the changing world of entertainment law.

Murray was drawn to O'Melveny & Myers by its entertainment and media focus the only firm among the major Wall Street-oriented law firms with that focus at the time.

His practice hasn't been limited to corporate entities "a lawyer's lawyer," he counts among his clients several general counsels from Hollywood studios and dot-coms across the country. These days, Murray has increasingly involved himself in digital media advisory work.

"I'm drawn to the velocity of change, the intellectual challenge, the existential chess of the digital technology revolution," he said.

Murray enjoys the possibilities for creative deals that are currently available to today's entertainment lawyers.

"It's no longer the painting by numbers of an actor's contract," he said.

Thomas J. Nolan
Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White
Specialty: Antitrust and intellectual property
Law School: Loyola of Los Angeles, 1975
Career Highlights: Represented Litton Industries Inc. in its 1996 antitrust suit against Honeywell Inc.; represented Pioneer Electronic Corp. in an antitrust suit involving compact discs.

Opposing parties are finding out that it will cost them more and more to mess with Thomas Nolan.

In 1996, Nolan was lead counsel for Litton Industries in an antitrust suit against Honeywell Inc., in which a federal jury found for Litton and awarded the company $234 million.

That award was tripled under the antitrust laws, resulting in a verdict of $702 million. Honeywell, needless to say, wasn't thrilled and appealed the verdict. When the damages portion of the case was retried two years later, the award was bumped up to $250 million and, with treble damages, judgment was entered in favor of Litton in the amount of $750 million.

Those are big numbers for a guy who started out an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles. It also helps explains why Nolan is now the managing partner of Howrey Simon Arnold & White's Southern California offices and one of the most influential attorneys in California.

He has represented Pioneer Electronic Corp. and its licensing entity, DiscoVision Associates, in connection with a patent infringement and antitrust suit regarding patented technology in compact discs.

Nolan also played a key role in Howrey's acquisition of Los Angeles-based firm Troop Steuber Pasich Reddick & Tobey LLP, which was merged into Howrey on Jan. 1.

Pierce O'Donnell
O'Donnell & Shaeffer
Specialty: Trial cases
Law School: Georgetown, 1972; Master's from Yale Law, 1974
Career Highlights: Served as lead defense counsel for Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., Pfizer Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp., in a variety of class-action suits; represented MGM in defending the James Bond character against copyright infringement; successfully represented Art Buchwald in litigation against Paramount Pictures.

Pierce O'Donnell describes the kind of cases that he likes to take as the ones where his clients "bet the company." The gamble usually pays off.

O'Donnell has been involved in some of the largest class-action lawsuits and more infamous entertainment legal wrangles of the past decades.

In 1993, he served as lead counsel for Pfizer Inc., successfully defending the company against 375 cases involving allegedly defective heart valves. Having done so well, O'Donnell has been retained to defend the pharmaceutical giant in litigation over its drugs Zoloft, Viagra and Rezulin, as well as pending lawsuits over its penile implants.

O'Donnell has been equally successful for other corporate clients, including Reebok International Ltd., Bridgestone/Firestone, General Electric Capital Services, NBC, Philips Petroleum Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Texaco, as well as the Republic of France and the city of Los Angeles.

Prominent plaintiff attorney Tom Girardi, who is now working with O'Donnell after many years of being on the other side of the courtroom, likens the experience to "being a mediocre center in the NBA and having to guard Shaq, then having him traded to your team."

O'Donnell has also played hardball on several Hollywood cases. Working on behalf of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Inc., he won a landmark case in 1995 against American Honda Motor Co., which recognized federal copyright protection for the fictional movie character James Bond. Three years later, his injunction blocked Sony Corp. from starting its own competing James Bond film series.

O'Donnell has also worked for Miramax Films and New Line Cinema. He switched sides to take on Paramount Pictures in the case over authorship of the film "Coming to America." The seven-year suit on behalf of columnist Art Buchwald was the subject of his book, "Fatal Subtraction: How Hollywood Really Does Business."

O'Donnell a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White, prot & #233;g & #233; of Edward Bennett Williams, and a 1980 Democratic candidate for Congress has never liked to restrict his work to one side of the courtroom.

"The intellectual challenges become limitless when you divide your time between being the defendant and the plaintiff," he said.

Ronald Olson
Munger, Tolles & Olson
Law School: University of Michigan, 1966
Specialty: Business and entertainment litigation
Career Highlight: Defended Merrill Lynch in a lawsuit brought on by Orange County.

Ronald Olson's fingerprints can be found on some of the state and nation's biggest oil and utility litigation.

He just negotiated a $110 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by the federal government alleging that his client, Shell Oil Co., was underpaying royalties for on- and offshore drilling.

While that settlement may seem painful for Shell, the company is pleased with Olson's performance and the case's outcome. Evidence of that is the fact that the oil giant has retained him for defense against lawsuits filed by California's gasoline buyers, who are alleging price fixing against Shell and several other major companies.

Colleagues say that Olson earns the respect of lawyers on both sides with his superb negotiations skills, high level of integrity and preparedness.

"He's not going to get into a position where, if settlement negotiations fail, he's not ready for trial," said Cathy Lamboley, general counsel for Shell. "He does his homework. I would classify Ron as a doer rather than just a talker."

Olson negotiated an undisclosed settlement on behalf of Merrill Lynch, which was sued for breach of fiduciary duty by Orange County following its bankruptcy in the mid-1990s.

He is currently representing Southern California Edison in a suit filed against the California Public Utilities Commission, claiming that the agency lacks the authority to maintain a cap on power rates.

Despite his long, distinguished track record in litigation involving major oil and utility companies, Olson said he has no real preferences regarding the types of cases he takes on.

"I take what comes in the door," he said.

Brian Panish
Greene, Broillet, Taylor, Wheeler & Panish
Specialty: Aviation law, business, personal injury and product liability litigation

Law School: Southwestern University in Los Angeles, 1984
Career Highlight: Won a $4.9 billion award against General Motors, said to be the largest personal-injury jury verdict ever in the United States.

Brian Panish's resume contains a list of 60 jury verdicts or settlements garnering more than $1 million each, including seven for at least $10 million each.

One of those verdicts made the others look like pocket change: a $4.9 billion award in July 1999 against General Motors. The gas tank on a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu exploded when the car was rear-ended, severely burning the two adults and four children inside. The verdict is currently on appeal.

That he was able to win such high judgments comes as no surprise to San Francisco attorney Stuart Gordon, who faced Panish last year in a diet drug lawsuit.

"He's one of the best lawyers I've ever dealt with in the 35 years I've practiced law," said Gordon.

Panish also won a 1996 jury verdict of $22 million against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority after a motorist ran over his client while being chased by MTA police. The woman's leg had to be amputated.

His current clients include the families of numerous passengers who died in the Singapore Airlines and Alaska Airlines crashes in the past year.

Kirk Pasich
Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White
Specialty: Commercial trial law and insurance coverage
Law School: Loyola of Los Angeles, 1980
Career Highlights: Represented Kaiser Aluminum Chemical Corp. in its suit against Fireman's Fund Insurance. Negotiated multimillion-dollar settlement for Northrop against American Motorists Insurance Co.

After two decades as an attorney, Kirk Pasich has proven he can handle the high-pressure cases. His client list includes such corporate giants as American Motorists Insurance Co., Kaiser Aluminum Chemical Corp. and Rockwell International Corp.

Pasich sued Fireman's Fund Insurance on behalf of Kaiser Aluminum, claiming that the company had wrongly denied the existence of coverage and the scope of coverage for asbestos bodily injury lawsuits. The matter was settled during the first day of the defense's case two months into a jury trial and after Kaiser Aluminum had rested.

He also represented Northrop in its case against American Motorists Insurance Co., involving insurance coverage for pollution-related damage at a Massachusetts location. The jury returned a verdict of $19.6 million in favor of Northrop. The verdict was one of the 10 largest verdicts in California in the 1990s and was subsequently settled on appeal.

"He's one of the most effective litigators I've ever dealt with," said Michael Berg, a private judge and former Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. "In the three private cases I've witnessed, he always had a command of the facts. He is also known as an aggressive settlement attorney."

Donald S. Passman
Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown
Specialty: Entertainment law
Law School: Harvard, 1970
Career Highlights: Represented singers Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey and Master P.

"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" garnered a record five Grammys for pop diva Lauryn Hill in 1999. It also nabbed her a lawsuit when four of the musicians who had worked with her on the album claimed they were not given the credit or cash they deserved for their work on the project.

Enter Donald Passman, one of the preeminent music industry attorneys in Los Angeles.

Passman whose client list has included singers Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey, producer/impresario Quincy Jones and pop band R.E.M. represented Hill in the negotiations with the four. Hill agreed to a settlement last week, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Odds are, however, she was well served.

"He's one of the best in the industry and across the country," says colleague Bertram Fields. "Second to none."

Passman is also an author, having penned "All You need to Know About the Music Business" in 1991. It's one of the most widely read and influential books about the nuts and bolts of succeeding in the music industry. Artists as diverse as pop rock band Vertical Horizon and Louisiana rapper Master P (the 10th highest paid entertainer in America) credit their success to following Passman's tenets.

Michael J. Piuze
Law Offices of Michael J. Piuze
Specialty: Personal injury litigation
Law School: University of Texas, 1971
Career Highlights: Won a $40 million judgment against Allstate Insurance Co.; won a $12 million judgment against Ford Motor Co.

Michael Piuze says he decided to go to law school after being roughed up by two Southern cops who had pulled him over on a minor traffic violation. During his almost 30 years in practice, he has been the one doing the roughing up, legally pummeling some major opponents. His resume includes cases against Ford Motor Co., the County of Los Angeles and General Motors Corp.

In 1998, Piuze won a $12.5 million judgment against Ford after arguing that the roof of a pickup truck had collapsed too easily during a rollover and left his client with a broken back. He also won a $40 million judgment in 1983 against Allstate Insurance, an unprecedented award at the time, stemming from a $30,000 accident claim.

He has been named Trial Lawyer of the Year twice, once in 1996 by the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association and in 1998 by O'Brien's Evaluator, after trying three cases that resulted in $27 million in gross verdicts and $20 million in net verdicts.

Piuze says he takes the tough cases because he enjoys a challenge. In 1978, after only six years in practice, he became the youngest California attorney to win a $1 million jury verdict.

John B. Quinn
Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, Oliver & Hedges
Specialty: Business litigation
Law School: Harvard, 1976
Career Highlight: Served as lead trial lawyer for General Motors in its lawsuit against Volkswagen over the departure of Ignacio Lopez.

"Driven" seems to be an appropriate word for describing John B. Quinn.

Quinn was the lead trial lawyer in GM's lawsuit against Volkswagen, stemming from the defection of Jose Ignacio Lopez just as he was about to be anointed GM's No. 2 boss.

In one of the biggest industrial spying cases in history, Quinn was able to negotiate a $1.1 billion settlement on behalf of GM.

That makes the $80 million jury verdict he won in a case for Avery Dennison Corp. look small. The Avery case, also involving theft of trade secrets, was waged against a Taiwanese competitor and its chairman.

Quinn a founding partner at Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, Oliver & Hedges "is an extremely hard worker who isn't bashful about getting down in the trenches," said John J. Higgins, acting general counsel for Hughes Electronics. "He plays to win."

"He likes to go to trial, which is unusual for a senior partner of a big firm," said Hillel Chodos, who has opposed Quinn a number of times.

Quinn is also general counsel for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a position he has held since 1987.

Bruce M. Ramer
Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown
Specialty: Entertainment law
Law School: Harvard, 1958
Career Highlights: Representing Steven Spielberg for the past 30 years.

Bruce M. Ramer is the high-profile movie industry lawyer best known for his longtime representation of Steven Spielberg. But he also represents several other celebrities, including actors Clint Eastwood and George Clooney and directors Milos Forman and Robert Zemeckis. The National Law Journal's "Profiles in Power" has lauded Ramer as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America.

"He's been Steven's attorney and friend for as long as Mr. Spielberg has been making movies and television shows," said Spielberg's press agent, Marvin Levy. "Bruce has been there on every major thing Steven has done. When you have somebody who you trust, that lasts. A lot of people don't have those relationships. Bruce Ramer is an outstanding man, both professionally and personally."

Levy neglected to add that on the set of "Jaws," Spielberg nicknamed the mechanical great white shark "Bruce."

Donald M. Re
Law Offices of Donald M. Re
Speciality: Criminal defense
Law School: UCLA, 1970
Career Highlight: Helped John DeLorean beat a cocaine rap.

They're the kind of people who make the news, but for all the wrong reasons. And when the heat comes down, their immediate response is to put in a call to Donald M. Re.

From automaker John Z. DeLorean (accused of cocaine dealing) to McKinley Lee (the bodyguard of rap star Snoop Dogg who was accused of murder), high-profile types facing criminal charges have been turning for years to Re to get them off the hook.

In many cases, Re hasn't let them down. And although he takes on very public cases, Re says he does not seek the limelight.

"I don't think that publicity brings people in the door, though it may make it easier for them to stay if it makes them think, 'This guy knows what he's doing,'" said Re.

Most of his clients come through referrals from other attorneys, rather than from notoriety generated by previous cases, he said.

And while confrontations in criminal proceedings can be hard fought, even Re's courtroom adversari

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