On April 18, 2018, Variety released its "2018 Legal Impact Report" featuring the top in-house attorneys, litigators, and transactional attorneys in the entertainment industry. Venable partner Michele Mulrooney made her fifth consecutive appearance in the report. She was joined by partners Alan Epstein, in his third consecutive year, and Alex Weingarten, in his second consecutive year in this year's report.
Commenting on trends in her tax and wealth planning practice, Mulrooney said federal tax reform that is effective this year is good news because it lowers taxes in Hollywood — particularly for above-the-line folks — though there's still plenty of head-scratching going on to understanding its intricacies. "We're doing a lot of structuring in income tax planning that we weren't doing before," she says.
Epstein said that a wave of high-echelon producers attached to major studios are breaking away to set up truly independent companies using non-studio financing to control their content and their destinies. "One of the keys to success is helping the creative producer think like an entrepreneur," he says.
Commenting on the anti-SLAPP law, Weingarten said, "The anti-SLAPP law, which is designed to protect free speech by unburdening little guys in litigation, gets applied broadly in California. You can grind a case to a halt for years with strategic use of the anti-SLAPP statute."