Rudolph & Beer Close Law Firm; Beer to Head Film Practice at Greenberg Traurig
by Eugene Hernandez
New York City-based law firm Rudolph & Beer is closing its doors next week as partners Steven Beer and Larry Rudolph head in different directions in the entertainment business. Beer is joining the film practice at the Greenberg Traurig law firm in New York, while Rudolph is launching an artist management company dubbed ReignDeer Entertainment.
"I feel like I've been drafted to play for the Yankees," quipped Beer during a conversation with indieWIRE on Monday. "This is a major league firm." He will be heading a large film practice with offices in a number of cities, including a large presence in Los Angeles. Beer decided to join the firm after Rudolph's decision to abandon his legal practice and exclusively pursue management.
On August 1, Beer will join entertainment attorneys Joel Katz, Jay Cooper, and Andrew Tavel at Greenberg Traurig. More than 40 laywers work in the entertainment and media department at that firm. Greenberg Traurig is an international firm with 975 lawyers at offices in the U.S. and Europe. Its entertainment practice includes a focus on music, film, TV, stage, and cable television, as well as an emphasis on convergence technologies.
"Moving to Greenberg Traurin was a more attractive option than reconfiguring Rudolph & Beer on my own," Beer told indieWIRE. "Candidly I think that my clients will benefit."
Through Greenberg Traurig's offices in Europe, namely Zurich, Beer indicated that he plans to leverage financing opportunities for his clients. "I foresee being much more involved in aggregating film funding and structuring distribution packages and more easily connecting my clients -- both filmmakers and producers -- with dollars and distribution," Beer said.
"Look at where the industry is today." Beer continued, "I see a much more sophisticated, mature business that requires teams of experts instead -- it is not a grassroots business anymore."
Beer indicated that he is essentially merging his existing film practice with Greenberg Traurig's. Maria Miles and Ted Weinrib will join Beer at the new firm in Manhattan and Beer told indieWIRE that he hopes to close a deal with Rudolph & Beer partner Emerson Bruns to join the new practice.
"As an industry and as a community we are at a crossroads," Beer said. "To continue to do things in the same way, I think it is time for us to recognize that, we need strategies to approach the new models for distribution and production."
Formed in 1993, Rudolph & Beer partners included Beer, Rudolph, Emerson Bruns, and George Gilbert. Its practice focused especially on independent film and pop music. Film clients at Rudolph & Beer included Antidote Films, Beech Hill Films, Belladonna Productions, Loop Film Works, producers Paul Mezey, Mary Jane Skalski and Greg O'Connor, as well as director Barbara Kopple among many others. Music clients included Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, 98 Degrees, O-Town, and many others.
Larry Rudolph will manage Britney Spears and a number of others artists at his new firm. His projects at ReignDeer include TV projects with Spears as well as a series with client Nick Lachey at MTV.
"Although I take great pride in my 15-year career as an attorney, I have found that my true passion lies in artist management," said Rudolph in a prepared statement. "This move will give me the opportunity to devote all of my time and attention to the careers of my artists."
Steven Beer has produced, repped, and served as counsel for a number of notable film projects, including Damon Dash's directorial debut, "Death of a Dynasty," Franc Reyes' "Empire," Michael Cuesta's "L.I.E.," and Gavin O'Connor's "Tumbleweeds." In 2001, Beer and Lisa Fragner formed R&B FM, a production company specializing in music-oriented films. Prior to launching Rudolph & Beer he worked with Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz.
"It is time for us to push forward and take New York to where it deserves to be in terms of a more creative and vibrant hub of filmmaking. I can't think of a better time to take the independent spirit to a much more enterprising and much more appropriate place," Beer concluded, "I am excited that we will have that opportunity."