PARTICIPANT MEDIA

We are among the outside counsel to Participant Media, whose projects have one multiple Academy Awards and have been nominated for over 50.

SHOWTIME NETWORKS, INC.

We are among the outside counsel to Showtime Networks, Inc. At the moment, we are production and claims counsel for their hardhitting, controversial new Sacha Baron Cohen series, WHO IS AMERICA?.

Channel 4

U.S. counsel to Channel 4, Britain's second largest broadcast network and one of the world's most challenging and creative producers of television programs and films.

GUANTÁNAMO DIARY

Together with Benedict Cumberbatch and others, our film/TV joint venture is executive producing the film version of the NY Times best-selling book by released Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi.

Bruno

Production and litigation counsel to Sacha Baron Cohen's award-winning film "Bruno."

WHO IS AMERICA?

We are production and claims counsel for Showtime, Sacha Baron Cohen, and their hardhitting, controversial new series, WHO IS AMERICA?, a reincarnation of DA ALI G SHOW in the Trump era.

THE BBC

We have been among the outside counsel for the BBC, where SmithDehn's Philip Wheeler was a senior in-house solicitor for 11 years.

IS O.J. INNOCENT? THE MISSING EVIDENCE

We are production counsel for this investigatory series by All3Media America, narrated by Martin Sheen for Investigation Discovery

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

Production counsel for the late Malik Bendjelloul's sensational, Oscar-winning "Searching for Sugar Man," released by Sony Pictures Classics.

Raw TV

US production counsel for Raw TV, a multi-award winning production company with a reputation for gripping narrative, visual innovation and journalistic vigour.

The Imposter

Production counsel for "The Imposter," an astonishingly true story about a French man who fools everyone into believing he is a missing Texas boy, including the boy's family.

PLAN B ENTERTAINMENT

Among the counsel for Brad Pitt's production company, acclaimed for SELMA, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE BIG SHORT, THE DEPARTED, and other important films.

PASSION PICTURES

We are US and UK counsel to this multiple Oscar winning film and television company behind Searching for Sugar Man, The Imposter, and Project Nim, to name a few.

WHITNEY

We are production counsel for this definitive biopic of Whitney Houston, directed by Oscar-winner Kevin MacDonald and produced by double-Oscar winner Simon Chinn.

Media Rights Capital

Among counsel to MRC, the industry’s largest independent film, TV and digital studio.

ALL THREE MEDIA AMERICA

We're among the US and UK counsel for All3Media America, the LA-based, multi studio production hub for one of the world's leading creators of high-quality content.

KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

We are counsel for KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE, the acclaimed documentary by Rachel Lears, which was purchased by Netflix at Sundance for a record $10 million.

LAST CHANCE U

We're counsel for this award-winning, very popular Netflix series that goes behind the scenes at the top junior college football programs in the US.

CITIZENFOUR

We're among the counsel for this Oscar-winning (Best Feature Documentary) about Edward Snowden and national security in post 9/11 America.

LISTEN TO ME MARLON

We are production counsel to this 2015 Sundance-selected, 2016 Oscar-Short-Listed, Marlon Brando biopic released by Universal Studios and Showtime.

AMERICAN ANIMALS

We were production counsel for this "wildly entertaining" (Variety) scripted feature film that captivated the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

UNTOUCHABLE

We are US production counsel for the BBC/Lightbox film, UNTOUCHABLE, about the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein, premiering at Sundance 2019.

SELMA

Honored to be representing the director and producers of this important, Academy-Award-winning film.

THE FINAL YEAR

An insiders' account of President Barack Obama's foreign policy team during their final year, as they set out to define their legacy, promote diplomacy - and react to the rise of Donald Trump.

PHILIP GLASS

One of our partners, Russell Smith, has provided legal advice and related services for Philip Glass, the world's most successful living music composer.

Paramount Pictures

We are among the outside counsel for Paramount Pictures.

Fear Thy Neighbor

Production counsel to this Investigation Discovery series about what happens when a homeowner unwittingly takes up residence next to psycho or when evil minds decide to lay down roots right next door.

ENDEMOL SHINE GROUP

We are among the outside counsel for Endemol Shine Group, a global production powerhouse. Endemol Shine has 120 companies across all the world’s major markets.

OCTOBER FILMS

We are US and UK counsel to October Films, one of the world's most respected and longest established factual television production companies. They have won over 100 international awards.

FREMANTLE MEDIA

We are among the outside counsel to one of the world's largest and most successful creators, producers and distributors of outstanding entertainment brands.

CBS CORPORATION

We are among the outside counsel for the CBS television network.

BAFTA

Handling contract drafting and negotiations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts

NATIONAL BIRD

We are honored to be production counsel for this scathing, "bird's eye" documentary, directed by Sonia Kennebeck and exec produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris, about the US military drone program.

FORMULA 1: DRIVE TO SURVIVE

We're counsel for this Netflix documentary series.

Gold Rush - Raw Television

Production counsel for all nine seasons of Discovery's popular observational documentary television series, "Gold Rush."

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

We are production counsel to this most successful documentary film since Fahrenheit 9/11.

LIGHTBOX ENTERTAINMENT

We are US and UK counsel for this LA-and-London based production company founded by multiple Oscar and Emmy Award winning Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn, and funded by Channel 4.

Da Ali G Show

Production and litigation counsel to Sacha Baron Cohen's multiple-Emmy-nominated, path-breaking television series, "Da Ali G Show."

LEAVING NEVERLAND

We are counsel for this explosive two-part film about Michael Jackson, by Dan Reed for HBO Documentary Films.

Web of Lies

We are production counsel for this compelling Discovery series that reveals stories of deception and homicide triggered by online interactions.

ITV

US counsel to the largest and most popular commercial television network in the United Kingdom.

HBO

Our attorneys have been among the production and claims counsel to Home Box Office, Inc.

Borat

Production and claims counsel for the multi-Oscar nominated comedy, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

Dirty Wars

We served as production counsel for this award-winning, widely acclaimed investigative documentary about U.S. covert operations across the globe.

Sony

Among counsel for Sony Pictures and Sony Pictures Television, producers and/or distributors of some of the most successful motion pictures and programs in the world.

UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA

We are production counsel for this Primetime Emmy-Award-wining hit CNN series that follows comedian and political provocateur W. Kamau Bell as he explores communities and challenges across America.

STARZ

Owned by Lionsgate, our client Starz is a leading global media and entertainment distributor/producer, with over 5,000 TV episodes and feature films each year on its several channels.

SACHA BARON COHEN

We are production and claims counsel for Sacha Baron Cohen. We have been his counsel on DA ALI G SHOW, BORAT, BRUNO, THE DICTATOR, THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY, and his new Showtime series, WHO IS AMERICA?.

Virunga

We are production counsel for this Oscar-Nominated 2014 documentary about the fight to save Virunga National Park, the last refuge of moutain gorillas.

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX

We have been among the outside counsel to Twenty-First Century Fox.

KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

We are counsel for KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE, the acclaimed documentary by Rachel Lears, which was purchased by Netflix at Sundance for a record $10 million.

MURDER MOUNTAIN

We're counsel for this acclaimed and popular documentary series.

A Different Kind of Law Firm

With creative personnel in locations as diverse as Los Angeles, New York City, Washington DC, London, Derry/Londonderry Northern Ireland, Mysore India, and Asheville North Carolina, and with over 400 film, television, and other media clients on either side of the Atlantic and the Pacific, SmithDehn LLP is an international law firm that delivers top-tier service, while meeting the needs and budgets of companies and individuals in ways that few large firms can. We are the only media and entertainment law firm that provides legal advice regarding both US and UK law. We also are one of only four law firms in the US that also operate a film/TV production and financing company. Our thriving film/TV company, Convergent Media, has deepened our understanding of the needs of our clients. It also gives us and our clients opportunities to collaborate together creatively and financially.

Our team includes Russell Smith (former partner of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz and current CEO of Convergent Media), Frank Dehn (former broadcast news journalist), Laura Farina (former VP for Legal Affairs at Discovery Communications, Inc.), Mike Cleaver (Managing Director of Convergent Media), Jeff Holmes (former VP for Business Affairs at Twentieth Century Fox), Chris Matson (former Senior Counsel at Netflix, Director of Business Affairs at HBO, and Head of Business Affairs and Production at Magnolia Pictures), international media transactions specialists Alex Hannell and Andrew Baker (former head of business affairs at the leading UK commercial broadcaster ITV), US media/entertainment immigration law expert Priya Kumar, veteran Hollywood film producer Zak Kilberg (who is our Head of Film/TV Packaging and Sales as well as Creative Director at Convergent Media), US/UK-law-trained-but-India-based legal professionals Vidya Devaiah and Padma Shanthamurthy, as well as the outstanding US/UK trained lawyers at our Northern Ireland office: Niamh Hargan, Dermot Desmond, Tony Doherty, and Mark O'Connell.

We are among the counsel of choice for the film and television production industries, from Hollywood to New York, London, Dublin, Belfast, and Mumbai. Our attorneys have been chosen to handle the legal work on over 60 current television series (most recently Showtime's "Who Is America?" featuring Sacha Baron Cohen), and several of the most significant and/or legally challenging motion pictures in recent years (including, for example, "CitizenFour," "Virunga," "Searching for Sugar Man," "The Imposter," "Dirty Wars," “Borat,” "The Yes Men Fix the World," “Bruno,” and “Death of a President”). Our clients have included Paramount Pictures, HBO, Sony Pictures, ITV, 20th Century Fox, Channel Four Television, the BBC, BBC America, Media Rights Capital, Raw TV, All3Media, Lightbox Entertainment, October Films, Darlow Smithson Productions, Passion Pictures, Fremantle Media, Lion Television, Tiger Aspect Productions, and nearly 400 other media companies. We also have been libel defense counsel for several newspapers, and counsel for many other clients in the television, motion picture, music, publishing, fashion, information technology, and other industries.

Although we are a general practice law firm, our areas of special expertise, in addition to US/UK television/film production counseling and business affairs, and media litigation and libel defense, include copyright and trademark counseling, and immigration processing for companies and individuals in entertainment and other fields.


At the Forefront of a Paradigm Shift in the Way Legal Services are Provided

The growth of our practice confirms our belief that in reaction to mega-firms and mega-fees, there is a virtually unlimited market for top-tier, responsive legal assistance at more reasonable rates. In our successful drive to dramatically increase quality, responsiveness and efficiency, we are the only Western law firm that has established legal support operations in India, and we are the only US law firm with an office in Northern Ireland. In those locations in particular, we leverage the latest and best in communications and other information technology, as well as outstanding, US/UK-law-trained talent, to operate around the clock in four different time zones for our clients around the world. The financial advantages that accrue to our clients readily can be seen not only in the well-known costs savings from sourcing talent in less expensive locations, but also in the price of office space, which of course is ultimately paid by a law firm's clients. Many traditional firms locate all or most of their personnel in palatial offices in the most expensive real estate markets in the United States and the UK. As a result, much if not most of each dollar or pound that these firms charge their clients goes to pay for office rent. By contrast, most of our office space is located in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and Mysore, India, where our lawyers and legal professionals work in state-of-the-art facilities at a fraction the cost of our comparable space in the Los Angeles, London, or New York. This is how we fulfill our promise to clients that they will pay for legal services, not real estate. We believe we are at the forefront of what promises to be a paradigm shift in the way legal services will be provided in the twenty-first century.


Billing That Makes Sense

Our firm is also known for its innovations in billing methods. Indeed, we were founded in part because of our antipathy to the typical hourly billing structure that so often leads to unnecessary friction between attorneys and clients. Many lawyers still are wedded to hourly fees, in part because the less efficiently they work, the more their clients pay. Worse, each monthly bill can be a surprise or even a shock, after the client opens the envelope to discover the mystery number of often unnecessary or inflated billable hours that have been tallied.

We prefer a different approach: fee for service. We discuss with you the various steps that your matter may require, and tell you the cost for each step. You then can make your decisions with intelligence, without fear of surprise.


A More Effective Approach to Litigation

Many law firms, especially very large ones, promise their litigation clients "lean staffing" of cases, to address well-founded fears of compounded hourly fees running amok. Because we prefer not to bill by the hour, but rather for the service provided, we can take the opposite approach when needed. Our aim in litigation is to obtain the desired result for our clients as quickly as possible, through the appropriate and unstinting application of concentrated legal pressure. Often that means having multiple attorneys working on the same case in multiple time zones around the world every day until that result is achieved, if that is what is needed to get the job done. We have found that in using this approach, we often run circles around the so-called "lean staffing" of mega-firms. With our Northern Ireland and India offices, we can provide massive, high-quality, low-cost litigation support, 24 hours a day.

If and when a case goes to trial, it is also important that your advocates be trial lawyers, not paper lawyers. The demands of a trial are often harrowing for a client. As the old saying goes, sometimes a bad settlement can be better than a good trial. Sadly, however, trials often result because one side hardens its position, based on a perception that its adversary will avoid trial. Such a perception may arise because the adversary's lawyers are known to be prohibitively expensive, or have a reputation for being paper litigators, rather than experienced trial attorneys. By contrast, we boast about our reasonable fees, and having handled multiple, high-profile trials in various courts, we are known by our adversaries to be willing to go the distance for our clients. This lessens the chances that an opportunity for an appropriate settlement will be missed.