Doug Mirell is a rarity: A powerhouse litigator in the entertainment field, and a lawyer who follows his conscience.
Representing celebrities, entertainers, companies, guilds, media concerns, and others in litigation over the course of nearly four decades—and counting—his imprint can be found on hundreds of important entertainment related issues that were resolved in the courts or that required legislative action.
Specifically, Doug is a driving force in First Amendment and entertainment industry lawsuits; anti-SLAPP motions; copyright and trademark infringement actions; new and traditional media law issues; invasion of privacy and defamation claims; and publicity rights disputes. Perhaps lesser known, but equally rewarding to Doug, is his work litigating constitutional law questions that helped protect immigrant rights; prevent the electoral disenfranchisement of minority communities; and enforce freedom of information, public records, and other government access statutes.
Doug regularly reviews video and film footage, internet websites, motion picture and television scripts, stage plays, newspapers, magazines, and books to identify intellectual property rights infringements and potential publication tort claims. He previously authored amicus curiae briefs in various appellate courts for the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. and represented all of the MPAA’s member companies in nationwide litigation against computer users who were illegally trafficking in those studios’ copyrighted motion pictures on “peer-to-peer” file sharing networks.
Making a difference for clients
In his practice, Doug is drawn to challenges that often involve confronting and surmounting new or unexpected problems. He says this is where his personal skill set proves most useful. One example includes the legislative work he carried out, together with an Academy Award® winning actor and others, to significantly enhance the criminal penalties and create a new civil remedy for the harassment of celebrity children caused by overly aggressive paparazzi. “No one had thought to do what we did—go to the California Legislature and request a safe space for celebrity kids. It proved to be a fascinating and extraordinarily successful effort that has made a huge difference in many lives. Improving the professional or personal lives of my clients is the ultimate reward. I think that’s what every lawyer should strive to do.”
Doug also attributes his success to frequent communication with his clients. He believes that every client deserves to be informed by their legal counsel at all times. “At every stage of a matter, I want my clients to know not only what’s going on, but also what that means in the long term; they should understand the ramifications of each particular action.” He says that remaining in touch—whether by email, phone, or in person—improves the attorney/client relationship and forestalls miscommunication or misunderstanding down the road.
A stalwart community resource
A decades-long board member of the ACLU of Southern California and of its Foundation (including service as President), Doug has a strong commitment to equal justice and civil rights. He helped mount a successful constitutional challenge to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ 1981 redistricting plan on the grounds that it intentionally discriminated against the County’s then-three million Latino residents. He was also co-counsel in a federal court lawsuit on behalf of immigrant plaintiffs that successfully halted implementation of California’s Proposition 187. Some of Doug’s other high-profile, pro bono efforts involved the representation of plaintiffs in landmark free speech and church/state separation litigation.
Doug was also instrumental in providing the legal analysis that helped win passage of two important pieces of California legislation affecting the rights of celebrities in the entertainment community:
Senate Bill 771 (2007), authored by then-State Senator Sheila Kuehl, clarified that the statutory post-mortem right of publicity applies to those celebrities who predeceased that law’s original effective date of January 1, 1985; and
Senate Bill 606 (2013), authored by State Senator Kevin de León, significantly enhanced the criminal penalties and created a new civil remedy for the harassment of celebrity children by overly aggressive paparazzi.
A voice in the media
A sought-after speaker, writer, and commentator, Doug authored over 25 expert commentaries on the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials for WESTLAW’s specialized “Notable Trials” computer database. During eight appearances before Judge Lance A. Ito in the Simpson criminal trial, he argued against sealing coroner’s records, autopsy photographs, juror dismissal transcripts, and other court documents; imposing a “gag order” upon trial participants; conducting a mid-trial inquest into the undisclosed sources of a controversial local TV news report; closing juror voir dire proceedings; and terminating courtroom television/radio coverage.
In addition, Doug has written Op-Ed columns for the Los Angeles Times, Law360, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and the Jewish Journal; he has frequently been interviewed for his perspective on various intellectual property and First Amendment-related issues by major newspapers and magazines, as well as by local, national, and international radio and television outlets.
Greenberg Glusker: A perfect fit
After a 32-year practice at Loeb & Loeb, and five years in a boutique entertainment litigation firm he co-founded, Doug says he welcomed the move to Greenberg Glusker. Beyond attributes such as the quality of the firm’s clients, the diverse and full-service nature of the firm’s work, and the opportunities for synergistic relationships among the firm’s attorneys, he greatly appreciates the Greenberg Glusker historic commitment to protecting civil rights and civil liberties. “The firm’s ongoing investment in ensuring equal access to justice speaks highly of Greenberg Glusker. That proud tradition is as important to me as it is to my clients.”