A look at a practice area

Holland & Knight partner Robert “Bob” Labate talks about a couple practice areas.

What is the practice, and how would you describe it?

As discussed in my bio: http://www.hklaw.com/id77/biosrlabate, I have two practice areas Corporate Restructuring and Transactional Media (aka Entertainment), which are far more similar than most people suspect. Both are practiced by a small number of attorneys in Chicago, both involve extensive negotiations to put a deal together, both are learned by practicing, both require knowledge of federal statutory law (Bankruptcy Code and the Copyright Act) as well as state law (UCC and Publicity Rights), both require trust and confidence in the other side, and both happen very quickly with deals hammered out at night and over weekends.

And in both we represent prominent local and national clients, with focal points of activity in cities other than Chicago (LA and NY for Entertainment, NY and Delaware for Restructuring). Which means that, in Chicago, we can practice in a wide range of matters  — for Entertainment we do film, TV, Internet, advertising, theater, publishing, and music, and for Corporate Restructuring we do debtors, lenders, mezz lender, trade vendors, owners, and DIP financers. Our clients include an array of award-winning producers, studios, content providers, and professionals and we teach law courses and work with educational institutions that teach Entertainment courses. We also teach and write extensively regarding Corporate Restructuring Issues.

How many lawyers are in the practice?

To Start: Entertainment – 1 plus me; Corporate Restructuring – 3 plus me

Now: Entertainment – 3 plus me; Corporate Restructuring – 6 plus me

Why is this practice needed in the legal community?

In this economy, few practices are as essential as Corporate Restructuring which permits assets and human resources to be redeployed and more productively utilized as part of a financial and operational restructuring or a sale to a new owner. A good restructuring benefits most of the major parties in interest and avoids costly win/lose litigation which frequently kills the business. It means saving jobs and keeping business in Illinois.

Entertainment also means jobs because of the Illinois Tax Credit, which promotes the production of entertainment content in Illinois, and enables trained professionals to remain in Chicago rather than migrating to the Coasts. IP is the number one export of the United States and transactional media is one of the most rapidly developing areas of the law which is struggling to keep pace with new issues created by the internet, user generated content, mash ups, YouTube and the search for a business model for monetizing media content.

Who are the practice group leaders?

Restructuring — John Monaghan (Boston). Entertainment — Jorge Hernandez-Torano (Miami)

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