THE BBC

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

Media Rights Capital

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

THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY

Among the counsel for Sacha Baron Cohen on the Sony Pictures blockbuster action comedy, THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY

Stairway to Heaven

Counsel for this BBC Films documentary feature presented by Louis Theroux and produced by two-time Oscar-winner Simon Chinn.

Royal Opera House

Providing U.S. legal assistance regarding the acclaimed, controversial opera, "Anna Nicole," about the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith.

BOLSHOI BABYLON

We are counsel to this HBO Films / Altitude Films release, featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the scandal-rocked, Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

TOUTS

Our latest Irish punk rock clients, the Derry/Londonderry band, TOUTS. With a name like TOUTS, it doesn't get more "in yer face" than this.

BAFTA

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

The Pitch

Providing legal advice for this acclaimed TV series about the ad business.

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.

The Flaw - Studio Lambert

Production counsel for Studio Lambert's "The Flaw," a telling documentary about the recent economic crisis.

WE ARE THE GIANT

We're counsel on this acclaimed film, inspired by the Arab Spring. It tells stories of ordinary individuals transformed by moral and personal challenges.

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding

Production counsel for the hit series exploring the secret world of American Gypsies, produced by Firecracker Films and broadcast by TLC.

HOMEGROWN

We're production counsel to this HBO Film by Emmy-winning director Greg Barker, which offers a gripping, insider’s account of America’s counter-terrorism machine.

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.

SACHA BARON COHEN

We have been production and claims counsel for Sacha Baron Cohen for over a dozen years. We have been his counsel on DA ALI G SHOW, BORAT, BRUNO, THE DICTATOR, and THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY.

Project Nim

Production counsel for "Project Nim," a revealing bio doc about a chimpanzee named Nim, raised & nurtured like a human child in 1970s experiment aiming to show that apes can communicate with language.

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.

BRITDOC

We are counsel to this non-profit foundation, supported by Channel 4, which empowers independent documentary filmmaking.

The Dictator

We have been providing legal services in connection with Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator."

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 current Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi

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.

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

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

Borat

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

ALL THREE MEDIA AMERICA

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

CITIZENFOUR

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

Real Detective

Every detective has one. The case that takes him or her to the brink. The one that takes hold and won't let go. From investigation Discovery and WAM Group (Toronto). We’re production counsel.

Stones In Exile

Production counsel for" Stones In Exile," a documentary film about the 1972 Rolling Stones album "Exile on Main St.," widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time.

AXIS PRO MEDIA INSURANCE

We have been retained to provide legal advice to one of the world's leading providers of E&O and other media insurance for the film and television industry.

BUSINESS OF FILM & TELEVISION COURSE - UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER

Together with top executives from clients HBO & Channel 4, we're teaching a graduate course in the business of film and television, at the University of Ulster, in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The Green Prince

Paramount Pictures

We are among the outside counsel for Paramount Pictures.

LIGHTBOX ENTERTAINMENT

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.

ITV

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

Locked Up Abroad

We are production counsel for "Locked Up Abroad," the National Geographic Channel's series that features inside accounts of capture, imprisonment, and pure terror, far from home.

The Yes Men Fix the World

Production Counsel for "The Yes Men Fix the World," the award-winning documentary film using alter-egos to expose large corporations and government agencies.

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.

Four Lions

Production counsel for "Four Lions," the BAFTA-award winning comedy about a group of British jihadists who push their abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point.

RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

We are counsel for this groundbreaking CNN series narrated by Kevin Spacey, and produced by Kevin Spacey and Raw TV.

HCC INSURANCE

Claims defense counsel for one of the world's largest media insurance companies.

HBO

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

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.

DARK HORSE

Production counsel to this Sundance-premiering, inspirational film about a barmaid who breeds a racehorse, invading a province of the privileged.

The Graham Norton Show

We provide production legal services to the UK's most popular television talk show, broadcast by the BBC.

FANTASTIC LIES

We are production counsel for this acclaimed ESPN documentary for Netflix, produced by Lightbox, on the subject of the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal

THREE DAYS OF TERROR: THE CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACKS

We're production counsel for this acclaimed HBO/BBC film by Dan Reed, about the murderous assault on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris

20th Century Fox

Our attorneys have served as counsel for 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and the Fox Entertainment Group.

SECRET LIVES OF AMERICANS

Counsel for groundbreaking documentary series by All3Media America and Participant Media.

Biggie & Tupac

Production Counsel for Nick Broomfield's "no holds barred," feature-length documentary on the murders of two rap music icons, Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur.

STOP AT NOTHING: THE LANCE ARMSTRONG STORY

We're production counsel for this riveting film from producers of Academy Award winning, ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, and BAFTA-winning Alex Holmes.

Death of a President - Chicago Borough Films

Production counsel for "Death of a President," the Emmy Award-winning docudrama involving the fictional assassination of President George W. Bush.

Bruno

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

FIRECRACKER FILMS

We are counsel to these world-famous, award-winning creators of stylish, attention-grabbing, talked about content.

So Television

We provide legal services to this top-ranked, BAFTA-winning, UK production company founded by Graham Norton and Graham Stuart.

Web of Lies

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

InRealLife

We're counsel on Beeban Kidron's acclaimed, absorbing feature film that addresses the relationship between teens and the Internet.

Da Ali G Show

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

PASSION PICTURES

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

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB - ADIOS

Through our film/TV joint venture, Convergent Media, we are producing this Broad Green Pictures feature, directed by two-time Oscar Nominee Lucy Walker.

LOVE PRODUCTIONS

We are among the counsel to this award-winning independent production company, specializing in thought-provoking, entertaining television.

Dirty Wars

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

DANGEROUS PERSUASIONS

We're production counsel for this gripping Discovery series that follows extraordinary, true accounts of psychological manipulation of everyday people.

K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute

We have been counsel to this renowned yoga institute in Mysore, India, founded by the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois, who spoke at the opening of our India office.

THE BENGALI DETECTIVE - NATIVE VOICE FILMS

US Production counsel for "The Bengali Detective," feature documentary about an overweight dance obsessed intrepid detective, providing unprecedented look at modern India through the prism of crime.

SELMA

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

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.

The War On Democracy

Production Counsel for "The War on Democracy," John Pilger's award-winning, Lions Gate documentary about the U.S. role in Latin America.

Ealing Studios

We are among the counsel to this legendary television/film production company, which is the oldest continuously working film studio in the world.

OCTOBER FILMS

Based in London and New York, our client October Films is one of the UK's most respected and longest established factual television production companies. They have won over 100 international awards.

BLAST! FILMS

We're counsel to this award-winning film company with a reputation for high-quality, distinctive and innovative content.

Almost Royal

We are production counsel for this BBC America comedy series about young British aristocrats on their first trip to the United States, interacting with real-life Americans.

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.

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.

Paranormal Witness - Raw Television

Production counsel for "Paranormal Witness," the docudrama series that brings to life true stories of people who have lived through explanation-defying paranormal experiences.

Manhunt

Production counsel for the Primetime Emmy Award Winning HBO Documentary based on Bin Laden expert Peter Bergen's highly acclaimed, bestselling book.

James Bond

We've been retained as production counsel for MGM's 50th Anniversary James Bond film.

Nutopia

We are among the counsel for this award-winning TV production company created by former Discovery Channel US President Jane Root.

Studio Lambert

We're among the counsel to this award-winning, fast-growing independent production company based in Soho, London.

PATHÉ PRODUCTIONS LIMITED

Among the counsel for this distinguished production company, acclaimed for such films as SELMA, MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, and PHILOMENA.

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.

Gold Rush: Alaska - Raw Television

Production counsel for the hit observational documentary television series, "Gold Rush: Alaska," about a group of men who risk everything in search of gold.

Hillsborough

We're counsel for this compelling ESPN/BBC feature film by producer/director Daniel Gordon, who takes on one of the darkest days in European football.

Lion Television

US Counsel for Lion Television, one of the most successful independent production companies in the United Kingdom.

THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING

Continuing as counsel to "The Yes Men" in their third acclaimed feature film, designed to draw awareness to the issue climate change.

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.

THE STORY OF GOD

We are production counsel for this six-part series on the National Geographic Channel, starring Morgan Freeman, and produced by Revelations Entertainment.

Paper Heart

Production counsel for "Paper Heart," the award-winning documentary about love starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera.

The People's Couch

We're production counsel to this hysterical, hit unscripted Bravo series that delivers the buzziest watercooler moments of the television season.

The Shine Group

The Shine Group is the UK's largest independent production company. We have been providing production counsel services to two of its award-winning members: Shine TV and Dragonfly Productions.

Channel 5

US counsel for the highly popular and diverse Channel 5, Britain's fifth and final terrestrial broadcast network, launched in 1997.

BBC AMERICA

We've been retained by the cable network with the best in British entertainment, including sci-fi, comedy, reality, drama, documentary, and movies.

CHUCK NORRIS VS. COMMUNISM

We are counsel to this Sundance-selected film showing how VHS tapes of Western movies sowed the seeds of revolution.

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 nearly 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 legal 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), international media transactions specialists Alex Hannell and Andrew Baker (former head of business affairs at the leading UK commercial broadcaster ITV), UK media content/compliance expert Philip Wheeler (from the BBC, where he was a top in-house solicitor for over 11 years), 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, and Tony Doherty.

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, 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.