Press Release

Ballard Spahr Announces Arrival of Noted IP and First Amendment Litigation Team in Los Angeles

July 9, 2019

Next month, Ballard Spahr will deepen its powerhouse media and entertainment practice with the addition of six attorneys from Leopold, Petrich & Smith, the preeminent Century City firm for leading studios, television networks, producers, writers, and insurance companies.

These experienced copyright, trademark, and infringement lawyers—who have handled high-profile work ranging from storied Hollywood projects like Rear Window and E.T. the Extraterrestrial to cutting-edge new media and counter-piracy matters—will join Ballard Spahr's Los Angeles office. In addition to helping shape copyright law in the Ninth Circuit and the rest of the nation, the firm has extensively litigated idea submission, invasion of privacy, and right of publicity cases. It also is a leader in script-vetting and rights clearance for studios and production companies in the entertainment industry.

"These lawyers are marquee names in media and entertainment law in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, and their prominence is well deserved," said Ballard Spahr Chair Mark Stewart. "The prospect of combining their talents with those of our top-ranked Media and Entertainment Law Group is an exciting development for us and our clients, especially those with interests on the West Coast."

The attorneys joining Ballard Spahr are Louis P. Petrich, Vincent Cox, Donald R. Gordon, Robert S. Gutierrez, Elizabeth L. Schilken, and Loralee Sundra.

"Establishing a greater presence on the ground in Los Angeles is a strategic priority for us," said David J. Bodney, a leader of Ballard Spahr's Media and Entertainment Law Group. "We have known and respected Lou Petrich and his team for many years. They have litigated landmark copyright cases and they handle complex matters for sophisticated clients across the industry. Their arrival solidifies us as the nation's leading First Amendment litigation firm."

Ballard Spahr was named 2019 national Law Firm of the Year for both Media Law and Copyright Law by U.S. News & World Report-Best Lawyers. The firm regularly represents the biggest and most prominent names in the industry in headline-making cases that have secured access to important public information, upheld the right of a free press to publish, and protected the intellectual property of artists across platforms.

Leopold, Petrich & Smith is nationally recognized for excellence in intellectual property litigation by U.S. News & World Report-Best Lawyers. The publication also gave it a Tier One ranking for intellectual property litigation among firms in the Los Angeles region. Recent work by its attorneys includes the successful defense of bestselling author Stephen King against copyright infringement claims involving The Dark Tower series and a victory for Paramount Pictures against allegations of defamation and right of publicity violations involving the 2013 Leonard DiCaprio film, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Ballard Spahr's Los Angeles attorneys serve clients across industries, with a focus on retail, media, financial services, and real estate. The firm has recruited—and actively continues to recruit—top-notch litigators and prominent figures in emerging markets, as well as attorneys from leading boutique firms.

"It will not be a slow summer, but it will be a very exciting one," Mr. Petrich said. "When the right opportunity comes along, you do it. Our strengths align remarkably well with those of our new colleagues at Ballard. We are eager to join the team this August."

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