A leading American legal firm with A-List clients is considering setting up an office in the North West, it has been reported.
SmithDehn clients have included US Senator John Kerry, prominent business men Donald Trump and Mohamed Al Fayed, movie star Richard Gere and singer Bobby Brown – and whose co-founder was counsel to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry
Last month, our sister site the Derry Daily reported a top US legal company was coming to the banks of the Foyle.
Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive of Derry Chamber of Commerce, revealed talks with international investors would see the company create 65 jobs here.
Now, legal industry magazine The Lawyer has reported SmithDehn was looking at the possibility of setting up an office in the city and creating 75 jobs over the next five years.
The company had representatives at the investment conference held in Belfast in October last.
The Lawyer reports the firm is involved in talks with Invest NI about potential financial support.
SmithDehn has already teamed up with the University of Ulster and one of its clients, HBO, to launch a media law course for legal graduates, the aim of which could be to train recruits for the possible new office.
It has also reported that the firm’s founding partner Russell Smith would relocate to Northern Ireland for a year if the project goes ahead.
Mr Smith has handled a number of cases arising from controversial films and television shows involving Sasha Baron Cohen, including Borat, Bruno and Da Ali G Show.
Mr Smith has handled trials and/or appeals in dozens of federal and state courts across the US, including cases in New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio.
More recently, in non-litigation matters, he has been among the legal counsel of choice for the television and film production industries, representing broadcast networks, motion picture studios, and television/film production companies from Hollywood to New York, London, Dublin, and Mumbai.
Dubbed “The Maharaja of Media” by The American Lawyer magazine, he has counseled some of the most high-profile companies in the world, such as Paramount Pictures, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, ITV, Miramax Films, MTV Networks, Universal Records, Channel Four Television (UK), American Broadcasting Companies, Def Jam Records, Penguin Books, Warner Books and the Estates of Elvis Presley and Andy Warhol.
He also has acted for prominent individuals such as Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”), Philip Glass, Mohamed Al Fayed, Senator John Kerry, Erykah Badu, Graham Norton, Boy George, Chuck D, Don Hewitt, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Donald Trump, Spike Lee, Jeffrey Toobin, Terry McMillan, Errol Morris, George C. Wolfe, Sean McPhilemy, Dean Koontz, Nelson Demille, Bobby Brown and Richard Gere.
Recently, he was among the defence counsel for claims against “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” “Da Ali G Show” and “Bruno” in which defeated the Doe v. HBO libel case in Los Angeles, both in the Superior Court and the California Court of Appeal, winning a victory for comedians and comedy writers.
He also has been counsel for “Death of a President,” the controversial film about the fictional assassination of then-President Bush.
Mr Smith was appointed counsel to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry by the British Government.