Law Firm: Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger
Practice Area: Entertainment litigation
Year’s in Practice: 24
Law School: Stanford Law School
When a legal battle between Warner Bros.’ New Line Cinema and the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien over profits from the “Lord of the Rings” movies raged hotter than the fires of Mordor, Bonnie Eskenazi was there to guide the author’s heirs to a favorable settlement a month before the case was set tot go to trial last October. The settlement not only brought an end to the estate’s $150 million lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, it also paved the way for the future release of two additional films based on Tolkien’s books that his heirs had been attempting to block. Most of the money from the settlement went to the Tolkien Trust, a charitable organization that provides financial support for disaster relief and environmental causes. Eskenazi also handled several confidential arbitration matters for Marvel Entertainment Inc. last year involving the movie rights to a number of the comic book company’s characters. On top of her film industry work, Eskenazi also represents opera singer Renée Fleming and violinist Josh Bell. In the few spare moments she has left in her busy schedule, Eskenazi also teaches an entertainment law class at Stanford Law School, her alma mater.
Pretrial Ritual: Eskenazi keeps a notepad by her bedside to jot down trial ideas when they pop in her head, which happens most often when she’s no quite awake but not quite asleep.
Biggest Career Break: Eskenazi worked with Bert Fields representing Jeffrey Katzenberg in a dispute with the Walt Disney Co. over a profit-sharing agreement. Being a young partner at the time, it was exciting for Eskenazi to gain national media exposure while working with the distinguished Fields.