Last March, Martin D. Singer ’77 delivered the 13th Media & Society Lecture. Singer is a founding member of Lavley & Singer in Los Angeles, and is one of the most sought-after entertainment and business litigators in the country.
Interim Dean Michael Gerber welcomed faculty, students, and alumni to the lunchtime program. In his opening remarks, he noted some of the past prominent guests who had delivered this lecture, including Reed Hunt, Chairman of the FCC, Russell Lewis ’73, Chairman of The New York Times company, renowned New York Times staffers Linda Greenhouse and Sam Roberts, and most recently Allen Grubman ’67, a founding member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In describing Singer’s impressive career, Gerber said: “Singer’s client might be mistaken for the VIP list at hot night club. It includes Bruce Willis, Halle Berry, Sylvester Stallone, James Gandolfini, Steve Wonder, Simon Cowell, Eddie Murphy, Angelina Jolie, Harrison Ford, Scarlet Johansson, Demi Moore, and Charlie Sheen. He has been the go-to litigator for so many A-listers, he may have some tiger blood of his own,” he joked.
Singer’s talents are widely recognized by the legal community. He was honored by the Beverly Hills Bar Association as the 2012 Entertainment Lawyer of the Year and is regularly listed among the Top 100 Attorneys in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal and San Francisco Daily Journal. He was named by Chambers USA as one of the Best Lawyers in America and the Star Individual Attorney for Media & Entertainment Litigation in California. He has been a mainstay on Super Lawyers’ annual Southern California Super Lawyers list since 2004. In a recent feature on the front page of the Sunday Business Section, The New York Times called Singer a “guard dog to the stars (legally speaking).”
During his talk, Singer entertained the audience with the backstory behind some of his high-profile celebrity matters, including Charlie Sheen’s “Two and a Half Men” lawsuit against Warner Bros. Television and “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini’s lawsuit against HBO.
Singer expressed concern about the impact of the Internet on the ability of individuals to protect their rights. "When you were working with print or TV, you used to have a few hours to deal with a potential story about a client before it got published," he said. “But today, stories move into the media instantly, and bloggers are pretty reckless for the most part; once one website runs something, everybody else picks it up. And it's not just stories; it could be private nude photos, for example. Once somebody puts it out there, it's out there forever."
Singer has a reputation for dealing with the evolving media landscape deftly, however. "There are ways to do it, and we've done it," he says. "You can get things shut down, and ultimately you can find out who the [perpetrator] is. They usually think they're faceless, but they get scared and they will respond. You have to act quickly to get something off the Internet. That's what we do."
View photos of the event.