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    January 20, 2011  
Beatles, Branding
& Booze

Over 400 are now RSVP'd for Bisnow's NY Multifamily Summit feat. a cast of luminaries: Ackman-Ziff principal Patrick Hanlon, Meridian Capital Group CEO Ralph Herzka, and Related Cos. EVP Bruce Beal, Jr, and more. See you Friday, Jan. 28. NY Bar Association. Sign up now!


Super Bowl ads sold out months ago for about $3 million per 30-second spot. But Frankfurt Kurnit Entertainment Group co-chair Richard Hofstetter tells us branded entertainment work is growing because sponsors are generally less willing to pay big bucks for commercials that viewers increasingly ignore.


Frankfurt Kurnit Entertainment Group co-chair Richard Hofstetter

In his office overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Richard tells us Frankfurt’s team is leading the charge in negotiating brand integrations for scripted and reality TV shows. He says that the firm’s Branded Entertainment Group has seen an uptick in promotion and marketing beyond product placement for three years. (Would you have passed up Patrón for Avión, if not for Vince and Turtle’s promotion in Entourage last season?)

Frankfurt Kurnit Entertainment Group co-chair Richard Hofstetter with the Beatles

As the son of a movie theatre manager in Jersey City and Asbury Park, Richard grew up watching movies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (we presume popcorn was dessert). He put himself through law school at Rutgers producing radio and TV commercials and went to work for preeminent entertainment firm Hardee Barovick Konecky & Braun. His first assignment? Defending George Harrison in an unconscious plagiarism suit based on the My Sweet Lord melody. (But, sure, your doc review is fun too.) He tells us he met the Beatle once and went on to rep the first MTV music video directors, like Jeff Stein (Billy Idol, Rebel Yell; Tom Petty, Don't Come Around Here No More; Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark). 

Frankfurt Kurnit Entertainment Group co-chair Richard Hofstetter with Geraldo

You know you’re servicing your clients right when you get a hug like this one. With music on the decline in the ‘80s, Richard transitioned to TV, repping producers and distributors like King World (Oprah, Wheel of Fortune) and news talent like Walter Cronkite and Geraldo Rivera (above). Twenty-six years later, he says import and export of TV show formats distributed globally continues to be a focus of his practice—which also includes work for the producers of foodie shows like No Reservations and Chopped, and representation of Anthony Bourdain, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, and a few of the Real Housewives of NY. 

Richard Hofstetter with Bill Clinton and Kathie Lee Gifford

Richard’s TV practice has led him down many unexpected paths, including to the White House. Having repped Kathie Lee Gifford for 15 years, Richard tells us he was by her side in ’96 when she was wrongly vilified for the unauthorized practices of the Honduran factories in which her Wal-Mart clothing line was manufactured.  She and Richard worked with federal authorities, legislators, and executive branch agencies to enact child protection anti-sweatshop legislation. Above, Richard, Kathie Lee, and Frank Gifford visit with Bill Clinton in the Blue Room of the White House following the enactment of the legislation.



Reed Smith Private equity specialists Pat Rice and Tom Maira

Private equity specialists Pat Rice and Tom Maira are Reed Smith’s newest partners. After spending years working in adjacent offices at Skadden, both went in-house—Pat to Goldman Sachs as GC of its $30B Whitehall Street Real Estate and $6.5B Infrastructure Partners international private equity funds; and Tom to Australian i-bank Babcock & Brown, then with $70B under management, as GC of its $3B commercial real estate investment business. Pat tells us he joined the firm in October ’08 to build out its corporate practice. Tom joined six months later to link up with his old teammate, the former Merchant Marine hoopster. The duo says that Pat’s focus on M&A and infrastructure and Tom’s on real estate compliment each other. They tell us their in-house experience allows them to serve clients as “wartime consiglieres” delivering pragmatic solutions as the bullets fly instead of less useful academic advice.

Tom Maira in winter gear with espresso.

When not busy practicing law or executing textbook pick ‘n rolls, the duo also likes to get away. Tom's tastes include espresso, emails, and winter sports. He tells us he recently went tobogganing in Lake Placid’s Olympic Sports Complex with his five-year-old son. Not yet 48” tall, the tyke wasn’t allowed to join his pops on the bobsled track, speeding down the hill faster than you’re allowed to drive in the town. (If Jamaica can have a team, why not a law firm?) Tom opted to pass on the 13-story ski jump, but there’s always next year, right? Pat doesn’t let Tom have all the fun—he likes to take his 18-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son scuba diving, most recently to Stingray City in the Cayman’s last February. He says they’ve also been wall diving above the 4000 ft vertical drop-offs in Turks and Caicos and almost touched a 25 ft manta ray feeding nearby on plankton.

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