Hessinger Joins Forces with Ad Industry’s Lead Negotiator to Strengthen
Firm’s Entertainment and Labor Law Practice
For more information, contact Kim Holt, newsPRos, 973-669-0084, or Jamie Moss, newsPRos, 201-493-1027
(July 1, 2008, New York) – Reed Smith’s new Labor & Employment partner Gregory J. Hessinger—who joined the firm in New York from Morgan Lewis July 1—has spent more time with stars than most astronomers.
Prior to joining Morgan in 2006, Hessinger was Executive Director of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), a 120,000-member national labor union representing actors and other movie performers. Before that, he was Executive Director of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and earlier still, was the Director of Labor Relations for CBS and Westinghouse Broadcasting Company.
Hessinger will be resident in Reed Smith’s New York office, which delights partner Douglas Wood, a member of Reed Smith’s Executive Committee and the firm’s Advertising Technology & Media Group. As the advertising industry’s Lead Negotiator in connection with the collective bargaining agreements with SAG and AFTRA, Wood, representing management (the ANA-AAAA Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Relations), spent many hours across the table from Hessinger in his negotiating role for the unions. Once friendly adversaries, the two are now joining forces.
“Greg knows the DNA of entertainment unions, from top to bottom,” Wood said. “I’m very excited to have the benefit of his vast knowledge of union operations available to us, now that he’s going to be a colleague here at Reed Smith. With Greg as our partner, it will be a huge advantage to our clients to know how the unions think and operate from someone who was thinking and operating on their behalf for so many years.”
Hessinger’s qualifications are particularly well aligned with Reed Smith’s large entertainment practice in the United Kingdom and the firm’s strategy of expanding its presence in the U.S. film and television industry.
“Greg’s practice provides a unique mix of traditional labor work in many industries, including manufacturing,” said Martha Hartle Munsch, Practice Group Leader for the Labor & Employment Group. “Since a majority of his work is in the entertainment industry, his capabilities are a perfect blend for our labor clients and the firm’s Advertising Technology & Media Law Group.”
Hessinger’s recent experience extended his entertainment roots, as he represented movie studios, television networks, advertisers and major music producer-distributors in entertainment industry sectors. His labor practice also includes the representation of multinational corporations, such as large agribusinesses and international transportation services.
“Reed Smith offers me the best of both worlds, a strong traditional labor practice and an unmatched entertainment platform,” Hessinger said. “The opportunity to team up with Doug, who is a visionary in the industry, is an amazing opportunity. As a team, Doug and I intend to take Reed Smith’s entertainment media practice to another level. It’s a perfect balance with Doug’s focus on the advertising industry and my background with entertainment production and distribution companies.”
A 1990 graduate of St. John’s University School of Law, Hessinger started his legal career at Skadden Arps in New York, where he was an associate from 1990 to 1994.
“Greg’s independent relationships with the key organizations in the entertainment industry will greatly benefit the New York office,” said Robert A. Nicholas, Reed Smith’s New York Managing Partner. “Moreover, his ability to serve clients in many sectors beyond entertainment will provide additional strength to our New York labor and employment practice.”
Reed Smith’s New York office is one of fastest-growing in the firm. From a core of just six attorneys in 1995, it now has 140 attorneys providing dynamic, full-service legal representation in a wide range of practice specialties, including corporate finance, private equity, life science transactions, insurance recovery, bankruptcy, commercial litigation, intellectual property, advertising and marketing, labor and employment, real estate, and venture financing.
About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is one of the 15 largest law firms in the world, with more than 1,600 lawyers in 23 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its attorneys provide litigation services in multi-jurisdictional matters and other high stake disputes, deliver regulatory counsel, and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising and media, shipping, international trade and commodities, real estate, manufacturing, and education. For more information, visit reedsmith.com
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