J. MARTIN WILLHITE, 40
Firm: Munger Tolles & Olson LLP
Law School: Loyola
Selected Clients: Paramount Pictures Chief Executive Brad Grey, United Talent Agency, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment and NBC Universal.
Years in Practice: 13
Most Challenging Deal: The William Morris-Endeavor combination was very challenging because in addition to all of the intricacies associated with a high-impact M&A transaction, there was considerable pressure on the process due to the fact it was the worst-kept secret in Hollywood.
Best Career Moment: Being invited to join the partnership at Munger Tolles & Olson.
Worst: I can’t say my career has been marked with a “worst day” so far, but I’ve had some sad days: A few of my best friends have left the firm to pursue other opportunities. It is great to be able to practice law with your best friends, so it is sad when they move on.
Longest Workday: I once worked a double all-nighter to get a U.S.-U.K. multicurrency financing deal closed in front of a pending maturity date.
How My Practice Is Changing: There seems to be clear evidence that the future of the entertainment business, while still unknown, may not look very much like the past. This change is forcing the industry through consolidation along with destabilizing advances in technology and new media. This forces everyone to be creative and to attempt to anticipate how a particular strategy fits, or doesn’t, within our clients’ business goals.
If I Weren’t an Attorney: I recently had the opportunity to live in Italy while teaching U.S. law in Bologna. If I were retired, I’d like to continue traveling and teaching.
My Colleagues Don’t Know: Before becoming a lawyer, I taught ninth- and 10th-grade Spanish at Arcadia High School.
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