Entertainment litigator Jeff McFarland is on the move again – Reuters

Morning sun rise on the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California. REUTERS/Mike Blake

  • McFarland is heading to McKool Smith in L.A. after a year at McDermott
  • Earlier he co-led the media and entertainment practice at Quinn Emanuel

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(Reuters) – McKool Smith has tapped a veteran entertainment litigator from McDermott, Will & Emery who has represented actors, producers, screenwriters, film production companies and video game publishers.

Jeffery McFarland’s move to McKool Smith comes a little more than a year after he jumped to McDermott from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, where he previously served as co-chair of the firm’s national media and entertainment practice.

He will be a principal in McKool Smith’s Los Angeles office, the Texas-based trial firm said Thursday.

McFarland had joined McDermott on the belief that his clients could take advantage of the wide array of legal services McDermott provides. But there were a lot of conflicts between McFarland’s clients and his new firm’s.

“It wasn’t the right fit for my client base,” McFarland said.

He said he wanted to return to a more trial-focused firm. He described 135-lawyer McKool Smith as being the ideal size and having an ideal culture.

McFarland’s past clients have included video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc, cast members of the television show “Modern Family,” and various production companies.

He was among the Quinn Emanuel lawyers who sued Walt Disney Co in federal court in 2017 on behalf of a longtime Hollywood screenwriter and producer who accused the studio of copying its blockbuster, Oscar-winning animated film “Zootopia” from his work without permission. Disney ultimately prevailed in the federal litigation.

“We have been involved in a number of high-profile disputes in the entertainment sector, including our successful trial win on behalf of Quincy Jones against the Michael Jackson estate,” David Sochia, managing Principal of McKool Smith, said in a statement. “Jeff’s arrival will certainly help us expand our practice given his vast network and wealth of experience in complex entertainment industry disputes.”

McFarland isn’t the only entertainment lawyer making moves this week. Greenberg Traurig touted the arrival of an attorney with connections to music artists and private equity firms buying music artist catalogs, while Willkie, Farr & Gallagher poached at least five entertainment-related partners from Venable, including the former vice chair of its entertainment and media litigation group.

McDermott has also taken its lateral lumps this week — on Wednesday, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo said it picked up a pair of restructuring attorneys from the Chicago-founded firm.

Read More:

Mintz plucks partners from McDermott, Brown Rudnick

Entertainment lawyers hop between new and established L.A. firms

McDermott snags entertainment litigator in latest partner pickup from Quinn Emanuel

Disney stole ‘Zootopia,’ writer claims in U.S. lawsuit

David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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