Variety Magazine Names John Burke and Marissa Román Griffith “Legal Eagles” in Dealmakers Impact Report; Chris Spicer Named Among Future Stars

(Los Angeles) – P. John Burke and Marissa Román Griffith—respectively, the head of, and a partner in, the entertainment and media practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP—have been named “Legal Eagles” in Variety magazine’s 2012 “Dealmakers Impact Report.” In addition, Christopher S. Spicer, counsel in that practice, was named in the “Up Next” section as one of five up-and-coming individuals in the industry.

Burke focuses on media finance, with an emphasis on motion picture transactions. In the past year, he represented Trinity Opportunities and Shikumen Capital Management in a $275 million debt arrangement with Village Roadshow Entertainment Group that Variety described as “a significant transaction.” Variety also notes Burke’s management of a major independent distributor's 250-plus-title film library for Goldman Sachs and Assured Guaranty, his handling of Dune Capital Management's $600 million slate financing deal with Fox, and Commerzbank's $300 million slate financing arrangement for Spyglass Entertainment and its $100 million slate financing for Focus Features.

Griffith also concentrates on media finance as well as entertainment transactional matters. She recently represented Hemisphere Capital in a $200 million senior debt facility that provided co-financing for feature films such as Smurfs, Men in Black 3 and World War Z. Variety also notes Griffith’s role in leading and managing Media Rights Capital (MRC)’s $350 million JPMorgan facility, which provides financing for MRC’s projects, including Elysium, Ted and the first original TV series commissioned by Netflix, House of Cards, as well as her repping of various financiers in more than $400 million worth of single project loans in the past 12 months, including for the films Looper and Pitch Perfect.

Variety describes its fifth annual Dealmakers Impact Report as a look at “the men and women behind some of the most significant showbiz deals of the past year.” The “Legal Eagles” are the “powerful attorneys who work behind the scenes,” while those “Up Next” are individuals with “smarts, savvy and a feel for the future.”

Spicer represents financial institutions with respect to their film and television lending. His recent work has included representing Comerica Bank in the negotiation and documentation of single-picture loans with Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate, as well as Union Bank and Comerica as co-administrative agents in financing for the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 850 lawyers in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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