With a focus on complex civil litigation and appeals relating to media, entertainment, commercial, and regulatory disputes, founding partner Laura W. Brill has secured precedent-setting victories in numerous appearances before state and federal courts.

She is a certified appellate specialist who handles a broad array of high-profile business disputes involving contracts, torts, intellectual property, governance issues; First Amendment and other constitutional issues; fine art restitution; government contracting, and challenges to municipal regulation.

Recognized as among the top appellate and intellectual property litigators in California, Ms. Brill served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom she has co-authored several articles, and has been a law school guest lecturer at Yale, Georgetown, UCLA, and USC.

She is a thought leader who publishes and speaks widely on legal issues, including the First Amendment, entertainment and copyright law, appellate practice, and the legal profession. Ms. Brill maintains an active pro bono docket, with a focus on equal rights, freedom of expression, and challenges to the use of the initiative process.

Education

Columbia University School of Law, J.D., 1994

  • First in class
  • James Kent Scholar
  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
  • John Ordronaux Prize
  • Emil Schlesinger Labor Law Prize
  • Columbia Law Review, Book Reviews Editor

Brown University, A.B., American Civilization, 1987

Clerkships

U.S. Supreme Court

  • Law Clerk, Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

  • Law Clerk, Hon. Wilfred Feinberg

Media and Entertainment

  • Obtained a favorable bench trial ruling and appellate rulings for the heirs of the creator of “Hawaii Five-0” in a rights dispute with the creator’s former talent agent. The case ultimately settled during a jury trial on the heirs’ affirmative claims.
  • Successfully represented outdoor advertising companies for more than a decade in a variety of major disputes, many of which involve First Amendment issues. Matters have addressed whether government regulations unconstitutionally discriminate based on content, whether fees affecting the industry are unconstitutionally excessive, whether tolling of penalties is constitutionally required when applied to speech activities, and the extent to which governments may treat government property differently than private property for purposes of outdoor advertising regulations.
  • Successfully defended Current TV LLC and former Vice President Al Gore in district court and on appeal against claims brought by a consultant seeking a multi-million dollar “finder’s fee” in connection with the sale of Current to Al Jazeera.
  • Successfully defended a media group and several of its executives, obtaining a dismissal that was affirmed on appeal, in a lawsuit filed by a former executive claiming fraud, legal malpractice, and an illegal dismissal.
  • Representing heirs of a holocaust survivor in a federal court action against a Spanish state-owned museum for restitution of fine art looted by Nazis.
  • Resolved on behalf of a media company a distribution fee audit and dispute concerning its fantasy titles.
  • Successfully represented Outfront Media in defeating competitor’s challenge to major public transit contract.
  • Represented cable TV stations, TV production companies, radio broadcasters, individuals, and high-tech companies in disputes concerning licensing, partnership and LLC obligations, royalty audits, finders’ fees, rights of first refusal, copyright termination, idea submission, defamation, and other business disputes.
  • In the City of Los Angeles’ ongoing battles over billboards, defeated a competitor’s attempt at trial and on appeal to demolish the billboards of client, Outfront Media (formerly CBS Outdoor), and to force Outfront Media to pay millions of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Prevailed at trial and on appeal.
  • Filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the Viacom v. YouTube case on behalf of a group of legal and economics scholars from multiple universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia in a Digital Millennium Copyright Case.
  • Filed an amicus brief on behalf of Google, Yahoo!, and AltaVista to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a fair use doctrine case.

Constitutional Litigation, Appeals, and Advice

  • Successfully defended a law firm on appeal against a defamation and trade libel lawsuit concerning a law firm press release.
  • Represented Greenpeace USA in Ninth Circuit appeal of injunction against protest activity relating to Arctic drilling.
  • Won summary judgment and Supreme Court affirmance for the California State Senate, in a redistricting challenge.
  • Served as special outside counsel to Los Angeles County in connection with County redistricting following 2010 census.
  • As amicus curiae, successfully represented the League of California Cities and a major outdoor advertising company in obtaining a Ninth Circuit appellate victory holding that a city contract allowing outdoor advertising in connection with mass transit did not invalidate a ban on new off-site signs on private property. Argued the appeal against constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe.

Commercial Litigation and Appeals

  • Successfully defended attorneys and law firms against malpractice claims.
  • Represented North County Communications Corp., a leading cell phone service provider, in an appellate matter regarding private rights of action to enforce compensation provisions of the Federal Communications Act.
  • Argued successfully before the California Court of Appeal to uphold dismissal of tort claims in an appeal arising from the sale of semiconductor processing equipment that was the source of a patent infringement claim.
  • Reached a mutually beneficial resolution in litigation concerning allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets for an online content network in its claims against a competitor after taking over the matter from another firm weeks before trial.
  • Obtained forum non conveniens dismissal for a French high-tech company during a technology licensing dispute.
  • Represented a leading securities industry trade group in the filing of an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit regarding third-party liability for securities violations in civil litigation arising out of the Enron scandal.
  • Represented a leading DVR manufacturer in defending a $94 million judgment for patent infringement and to enforce an injunction.
  • Represented a non-profit research organization in a complex patent licensing dispute before the U.S. Supreme Court and a district court.
  • Filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the exhaustion of method patent claims.
  • Filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Association of Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges in a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding injunctions in patent infringement cases.

Pro Bono Litigation

  • In a landmark case, serving as co-counsel with Lambda Legal and People for the American Way Foundation, secured rights for Orange County high school students in a gay-straight alliance to be able to meet on the same terms as other student groups. Today, there are 4,000 such groups in the U.S.
  • Served as lead counsel and argued pro bono before the U.S. Supreme Court in Pasquantino v. U.S. Following the Court’s ruling, the client’s 21-month sentence was vacated.
  • Represented then-Assembly Speaker John Pérez, a group of leading scholars, and national and local women’s rights organizations in amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and other appellate courts, defending the constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry and challenging California’s Proposition 8, which was ultimately overturned.
  • Represented the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund as an amicus curiae in a successful U.S. Supreme Court challenge to a Texas criminal law that punished same-sex sexual conduct.
  • People for the American Way Foundation’s Defenders of Democracy Award honoring free speech and equal rights
  • Equality California’s Good Neighbor Award
  • Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers in California, most years, 2006–present
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Law, 2007–present
  • Southern California Super Lawyer, 2006–present, Including: Top 100, 2014, 2015; Top 50 Women, 2008, 2013–2016
  • Board of Directors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, currently
  • Lambda Legal National Leadership Council, 2015–present; Los Angeles Leadership Council, 2007–present; Lambda Legal Board of Directors 2009–2015; also co-chaired its development committee
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, State Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee
  • Columbia Law School Board of Visitors
  • Los Angeles County State Appellate Judicial Evaluations Committee Member
  • California State Bar Committee on Appellate Courts, Past Member
  • Irell & Manella LLP, 1997–2009
  • California, 1998
  • New York, 1995
  • U.S. District Courts
    Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of California
    Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court