The Churn: Lateral Moves in The Am Law 200

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The Churn

The Motion Picture Association of America announced Thursday that it has hired STEVEN FABRIZIO, a Jenner & Block senior partner and cochair of the firm's content, media and entertainment practice, as the trade group's senior executive vice president and global general counsel.

Fabrizio—named one of the nation's top copyright and trademark lawyers by affiliate publication The National Law Journal in April 2008—has served as lead outside counsel for the association and its member companies for many years. Among the matters he has handled for the MPAA: a copyright infringement suit filed against cloud-storage service Hotfile in February 2011. Fabrizio also had a hand in the association's $110 million settlement with Canadian BitTorrent indexing site isoHunt, which resulted in the site shutting down in early October. (A clone site launched later in the month.)

In his new role, Fabrizio will oversee all of the MPAA's legal, content protection and rights management programs. In a statement included in a press release announcing Fabrizio's hiring, MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd said, "As the MPAA's new global general counsel, he will continue to protect the rights of our industry's creators and makers so they can do what they do best: tell stories that entertain audiences across the globe."

For his part, Fabrizio acknowledged that protecting intellectual property involves plenty of litigation. At the same time, he said, "This position at MPAA is much broader than just litigation." Fabrizio cited BitTorrent sites, cyberlockers and other unauthorized streaming websites as the main threats to the motion picture industry's intellectual property these days. "The largest issue is creating a safe environment online for the media to distribute its content," he said.

Fabrizio is slated to officially move into his new job in early December. And how will his former firm fare without him? "I would say five years ago I might have been crucial to Jenner & Block's media and entertainment practice," he said. Now, he said, Jenner has plenty of other key people, including "Ken Doroshow, Rick Stone and Andy Bart. The principle was not to build a practice around one person. I think the practice will continue without missing a step."

In other Churn news ...

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz has hired ERNEST ABBOTT to serve in an of counsel role in its Washington, D.C, office. Abbott concentrates his public policy practice on emergency management and disaster recovery. He was most recently a sole practitioner and principal owner of the Washington, D.C., advice, training and counseling firm FEMA Law Associates, which is being absorbed by Baker Donelson.

Crowell & Moring has recruited a pair of senior counsel, DAVID BEKE and STUART LEVENE, and three associates from Ford Marrin Esposito Witmeyer & Gleser for its New York office. Beke focuses on commercial litigation; patent, copyright and trademark litigation and counseling; and various other issues. Levene handles reinsurance; securities and commercial transactions; directors and officers liability insurance coverage; and other insurance and reinsurance matters.

ABBIE MALINIAK has joined Davis Wright Tremaine's Los Angeles office as of counsel from Los Angeles–based health care firm Fenton Nelson. Maliniak specializes in administrative and regulatory matters, and counsels heath care providers on operational issues including, among other things, compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.

ROBERT ROBENALT has left Ice Miller to join Fisher & Phillips as a partner in Columbus. He focuses on employment litigation, traditional labor issues and workers' compensation matters.

Greenberg Traurig has hired CARL RILEY as a shareholder in the real estate investment trust and tax practices in New York. Riley, who joins Greeberg from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, represents publicly traded real estate investment trusts in connection with transactions and ongoing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission compliance, while also advising on tax aspects of securities offerings and transactions involving private REITs, investment funds, and joint ventures.

K&L Gates has hired JOHN SULLIVAN III as a partner in Houston. Sullivan, who joins from Watt Beckworth Thompson Henneman & Sullivan, represents clients in connection with disputes involving commercial agreements, intellectual property rights, officer and director responsibilities, and unfair competition.

STEFAN MARTIN is jumping from Allen & Overy to Mayer Brown, where he is slated to begin working in January. A London-based partner, Martin advises employers on cross-border issues and coordinates labor-related aspects of global transactions for the firm's employment practice.

Morris, Manning & Martin has snagged partner BONNIE ROTHELL and an associate from Krooth and Altman. Rothell, who chaired her previous firm's risk management practice, joins Morris Manning's real estate and commercial finance and lending practices in Washington, D.C.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has expanded its Atlanta office with the addition of KATE LEWIS as of counsel. Lewis, who was at McKenna Long & Aldridge, focuses on commercial real estate matters, financial services and workouts and the restructuring of distressed properties.

DAVID CADE is now a shareholder at Polsinelli in the health care practice. Cade, who will be based in Washington, D.C, was the deputy general counsel to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

BRYAN BROWN and MARLEN WHITLEY, both based in Houston, have jumped from Thompson & Knight to Reed Smith. The two partners specialize in corporate and securities work, as well as energy finance-related matters.

The Churn is compiled from law firm releases and announcements. Moves based on our own reporting will note this. Please send all announcements and news releases to thechurn@alm.com.

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