THR's Next Generation Lawyers

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THR's Next Generation Lawyers

Fri Nov 06, 2009 @ 06:02PM PST

The Hollywood Reporter's big Next Generation issue is out today, and the 16th annual list of Hollywood's top 35 executives 35 and under features a trio of attorneys: MRC's Jonathan Golfman and talent lawyers Tara Kole and Julian Zajfen. Their profiles are below, and the full list is here. Congrats!

Golfman Jonathan Golfman, 33
senior director business/legal affairs, Media Rights Capital
Golfman was perfectly happy with his legal practice, having moved from New York to Los Angeles to handle film finance deals at the Sheppard Mullin firm. But when he got a call two years ago about joining an upstart production/financing outfit, he leaped at the opportunity. "Diversity of work was the allure of MRC," the recently married Montreal native says. "Financing through to delivery, I get to see it all." He's since helped secure the company's $350 million credit facility from JPMorgan, Comerica and a syndicate of banks, and he now handles everything from talent deals on MRC projects like "Bruno" and the upcoming "The Adjustment Bureau" to complex distribution agreements to the company's day-to-day corporate issues - a breadth of responsibilities not available in a traditional studio business affairs department. "I see the nuts and bolts of a company, how the divisions work together, from the smallest detail to real big-picture stuff," he says.

Kole,tara Tara Kole, 32
partner, Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown
It's rare enough to see a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk hobnobbing with actors and directors. But before embarking on a legal career in Hollywood, Kole spent a year with Justice Antonin Scalia, the court's cantankerous conservative. What does Scalia think of her career path? "I didn't tell him for a good year or two because I didn't know how to break the news," says the savvy Amherst and Harvard Law grad, who worked in acquisitions and new media at Lionsgate before law school and was named a partner at Gang Tyre only three years into practice. She now plays a leading role in deals for actors like Gwyneth Paltrow and "iCarly" star Miranda Cosgrove, "Hung" co-showrunner Colette Burson, and directors Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Jon Avnet (as well as longtime firm clients Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg). At a recent reunion of Scalia clerks, the jurist insisted on knowing what Kole was up to. "I finally told him and he said, 'So, who do you represent?' I thought about it and said, 'Clint Eastwood,' and he said, 'Oh. That's good.' "

Zajfen,julian Julian Zajfen, 34
Associate, Ziffren Brittenham
Zajfen first learned to swing on Hollywood's legal vines while handling production work on Richard Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly." "I was dealing with a lawyer from every one of the major talent firms," the laid-back Stanford Law grad recalls. "I remember thinking that if I screwed this one up, I would have blown my shot at every firm I wanted to work for." Zafjen and the deal survived, allowing him to move to Jackoway Tyerman, before shifting to Ziffren Brittenham where he's been for the past two-and-a-half years. The Ziffren platform has allowed him to work on deals for A-listers including Judd Apatow, Eddie Murphy, Joss Whedon and production outfit Scott Free, while also developing his own client list: Disney Channel sensation Demi Lovato, "Invention of Lying" co-writer/director Matthew Robinson and "Bucket List" writer Justin Zackham are all clients, as is Maria Sharapova. Zajfen, who played tennis at UC Berkeley, keeps to his own courts though. "I've played against Serena Williams but never Maria. She'd probably beat me pretty badly."


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