Behind every million-dollar Hollywood deal, every blockbusting movie, every nude photo scandal and every fallen idol you will invariably find a high-powered lawyer. Those of this profession are at the very heart of the celebrity universe, keeping our favorite actors and sportspeople in the spotlight and out of trouble. It’s hardly surprising, then, that some of them are among the richest in the legal profession. Click onward to meet 20 of the most well-to-do lawyers on the planet.
20. Thomas Mesereau
Thomas Mesereau defended both Michael Jackson and Mike Tyson against accusations of sex crimes. Unsavory work, perhaps, but it helped him reach a net worth that today stands at $25 million. In 2015 Mesereau was hired to defend record producer Marion “Suge” Knight against murder charges.
Image: via YouTube/attorneyannebremner
19. Anne Bremner
Anne Bremner has worked on many high-profile cases, but none gained as much media attention as the Amanda Knox-Meredith Kercher murder trial. Bremner represented Knox and made many television appearances defending her. Bremner’s net worth now stands at an impressive $25 million.
18. John Branca
John Branca is one of the most influential celebrity lawyers in the U.S. and is worth around $50 million. He’s represented many high-profile musical acts, but his most famous client was probably Michael Jackson. After the King of Pop’s death, Branca became manager of Jackson’s estate, and he still is today.
17. Kenneth Kleinberg
Kenneth Kleinberg works his magic for J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books. Indeed, the upcoming spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is only being brought to the big screen with his help. What’s more, the Beverly Hills Bar Association fell under Kleinberg’s spell and named him “Entertainment Lawyer of the Year” in 2011.
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16. Roy Black
Roy Black has successfully defended various people accused of serious crimes – William Kennedy Smith, Rush Limbaugh and Kelsey Grammer to name just a few. More recently, he has represented Justin Bieber. And these high-profile clients have helped Black build up a net worth of $65 million.
Image: via AM Law Daily
15. Willie E. Gary
Willie E. Gary earned the nickname “The Giant Killer” for winning big cases against massive companies such as Disney and Anheuser-Busch. Now he’s something of a celebrity in his own right: his net worth is $100 million, and the high-flier is the proud owner of Wings of Justice I and II – his pair of private jets.
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14. Harry “Skip” Brittenham
Harry “Skip” Brittenham has been in the game for a long time. He’s the one who facilitated the sale of Pixar Animation Studios to Disney for a cool $7.4 billion, and his celebrity clients include Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey. These days, his net worth is about $6.5 million.
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13. Kenneth Ziffren
Kenneth Ziffren teaches seminars at the University of California, Los Angeles in his spare time and is described by the institution as “one of the leading entertainment lawyers in the nation.” His net worth is around $6.5 million, but he’s apparently a very generous sort: in 2015 he donated $5 million to the law school.
12. Star Jones
Star Jones is a lawyer and TV star with a net worth of $18.5 million. She was the first black woman to have her very own courtroom TV series, she was one of the original co-hosts of The View, and she’s commentated on some of the most controversial cases in recent history.
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11. Robert Shapiro
Robert Shapiro was part of the O.J. Simpson defense team, and his fame only grew from there. Now he represents A-list celebs such as the Kardashians and Eva Longoria, has a net worth of $10 million and appears in TV commercials for his company LegalZoom.
10. Joel Segal
Joel Segal is one of the most powerful sports agents in the world and has a net worth of $40 million. He’s represented figures such as Will Smith and Reggie Bush and also helped Michael Vick through the dog-fighting debacle that nearly ended his career.
9. Mark Geragos
Mark Geragos was initially on the team representing Michael Jackson during his infamous child molestation case, and he defended Winona Ryder after she was caught shoplifting. More recently, he has represented musician Kesha in her legal dispute against producer Dr Luke.
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8. Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz is worth no less than $25 million. His path to those riches has, however, been fraught with problems: he’s represented people whom the world now know to be guilty, and recently he himself faced allegations of sexual assault – albeit accusations that were thrown out by the judge.
Image: via Hollywood Reporter
7. Tom Hansen
Tom Hansen’s deal-making ability isn’t only the reason why Robert Downey, Jr. remains in the Iron Man suit; he’s also most likely the reason that Mel Gibson still has a career. Hansen’s job has seen him represent many “difficult” celebrities, but we can rest assured that he’s probably compensated well for it.
6. Alan Hergott
Alan Hergott represents big names such as Brad Pitt, Jake Gyllenhaal and Russell Crowe; and he’s also a big art collector, with more than 100 contemporary works in his collection. Apparently Hergott loves the very expensive Art Basel fair, and in 2009 he turned up with Pitt – who left with a million-dollar painting.
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5. Jeff Schwartz
Jeff Schwartz represents a variety of mega-famous NBA sports stars, including Lamar Odom. This is a guy who has negotiated billions of dollars’ worth of contracts and endorsement deals, and his own net worth is no less than $30 million.
4. Harvey Levin
Harvey Levin is not only a lawyer; he created the celebrity gossip website TMZ as well. What’s more, Levin might have picked up a love of gossip from his legal analyst work, as he worked on The People’s Court for more than a decade. Now, he’s worth around $15 million.
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3. John Bluher
John Bluher – whose net worth is $5 million – made a splash in the celebrity lawyer world when he married a former client. As documented on the reality TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, he was Taylor Armstrong’s attorney in the wake of her husband’s death and went on to marry her in 2014.
2. Allen Grubman
Allen Grubman apparently rakes in $10 million for a year’s work, and he owns several homes across the U.S. With the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga and Elton John on his books, he’s one of the most influential lawyers in the music industry.
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1. Gloria Allred
Gloria Allred has a traumatic past, but she recovered from a rape and subsequent illegal abortion to become among the biggest and most high-profile lawyers in the business. In 2015 exes of Charlie Sheen turned to her for help after it transpired that the actor was HIV positive.