US Entertainment Law Firm SmithDehn Expanding Presence in Northern Ireland
SmithDehn LLP, the New York-based entertainment law firm is moving to establish a strong presence in Northern Ireland. According to The Lawyer, SmithDehn may employ up to 75 staff in the region within the next 5 years. The Northern Ireland office is expected to be SmithDehn's largest European office and it is launching a part-time media law course in the region with their client HBO.
According to the law firm, the course led by SmithDehn LLP and top attorneys from HBO will start from February 2014. The media law course will be used to teach law students and graduates and train recruits for the proposed new office in Derry. The Law School at the University of Ulster is already accepting applications from students and graduates for participating in this innovative, industry-collaborative media law course.
The course module will run on the Magee campus over one semester on six alternate Saturdays, starting February 8, 2014. The first batch will only have 25 students. A statement issued by the law firm said, "The principal goal of this course is to create student employability to service the growing media and entertainment sector. The teaching will be problem-based and practical, with an aim to create a "work-ready" group of graduates for legal services in the film, television, and sports industries."
The outstanding teaching team will include Viviane Eisenberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel for Programming and Marketing at HBO, and Peter Rienecker, the Vice President for Legal Affairs, HBO. The co-founder of SmithDehn, Russell Smith, will be leading the team. Another noted member of the teaching team is Laura Farina, now of SmithDehn LLP, but until recently the Vice President for Legal Affairs at Discovery.
In an interview with The Lawyer this week, Russell Smith confirmed that SmithDehn is in negotiations with Invest Northern Ireland to open the law firm's new base in Derry, its second office in Europe after London. If the launch of the new office goes smooth then Smith will relocate to run the office for its first year.
Invest NI, the regional economic development agency of Northern Ireland has played a key role in the development, and introduced Smith to Dr Eugene McNamee, the law school head of Ulster University. After the idea of the media law course found interest and acceptance, Smith pulled in in-house lawyers of SmithDehn client HBO, who were filming in the region.