Lawyers for celebrities involuntarily share in the reflected glory of their clients, especially in cases that garner huge media attention, like the Jolie-Pitt divorce and Justin Bieber’s silly antics. Getting a favorable outcome for a big or infamous case through a trial or settlement gets them noticed and when stars hire their services, it’s at the rate of hundreds of dollars per hour fees in addition to a thousand-dollar retainer fees.
Check out these top five celebrity lawyers and the cases they have handled that make them stars in their own right.
Laura Wasser’s list of celebrity clients for their divorce cases reads like a who’s who in Hollywood. The forty-something lady attorney who specializes in high profile, high net worth cases is currently Angelina Jolie’s lawyer for the divorce she filed against husband Brad Pitt. She was also Jolie’s lawyer in her divorce from Billy Bob Thornton in 2003.
One of her biggest cases, in terms of the settlement amount, is the Mel Gibson – Robyn Moore divorce in 2012. Wasser handled Robyn’s case and got a settlement for her to the tune of $400 million, reportedly the most expensive among Hollywood divorces. Wasser’s celebrity cases are too many to mention. Recent ones include, aside from the Jolie-Pitt case, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, the three Kardashians and their exes, Hilary Duff, Mariah Carey, etc. etc.
Howard Lloyd Weitzman
Weitzman is a civil and criminal defense lawyer who also handles business litigation in the entertainment industry. He has lawyered for major motion picture studios, talent agencies and individuals. At 77, he is still active in the judicial field of Hollywood, coming to the rescue for Justin Bieber whenever he gets into legal trouble, which is often. He also currently handles the Michael Jackson estate, defending it from numerous claims and lawsuits. Celebrities have to get the best criminal defense lawyer since their every move makes them likely targets for lawsuits from people wanting to get money out of them.
Other famous clients are O.J. Simpson, Marlon Brando, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Morgan Freeman. He was also Paris Hilton’s lawyer for violation of probation and DUI, wherein the heiress was sentenced to 45 days in jail.
One of the most powerful lawyers slash dealmakers in the entertainment industry, Brittenham’s area of expertise is transactional law, negotiating all sorts of deals for companies and individuals. He has or is currently representing Harrison Ford, Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks, film makers Ridley and Tony Scott, studio executives and agents. He also represents corporate entities like Pixar and Miramax.
Brittenham is not well known outside of the showbiz industry. It’s intentional as he would rather keep a low profile. But with actress Heather Thomas for a wife, he can’t totally shut the spotlight out of his life.
Aside from being lawyer to the stars, Allred is famous for being an advocate of women’s rights. She has taken on many high profile cases and is often sought as a TV commentator. Her most famous recent case is representing 28 women against Bill Cosby, charging him with sexual assault, harassment and other sexual misconduct.
Allred is usually on the other side of the celebrity fence. She asked for an investigation of Michael Jackson after he dangled his child from a balcony. She was retained by two of Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses when the top golfer divorced his wife.
The power attorney’s recent famous case is representing Shelly Sterling in the Clippers sale to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Shelly owns 50 percent of the NBA team. Her estranged husband, Donald, was banned from the NBA for life after uttering racist remarks. O’Donnell also handled Pulitzer prize winner Art Buchwald in his plagiarism case against Paramount Pictures for the film Coming to America. Buchwald had claimed Paramount stole the script treatment from him. Buchwald won the case.