Leading entertainment dealmaker Joshua B. Grode has joined the firm’s Los Angeles office as a partner. Grode will serve as co-chair of the transactions practice group along with current chair, Gregory Klein. Also joining the firm’s Los Angeles office are corporate media and entertainment attorneys Paul D. Swanson and Sam A. Kozhaya and associates David Evans, Esther Kang and Zachary Smith. This addition will bolster Irell’s corporate practice, as well as complement the media and entertainment practices.

“We are thrilled to welcome this group to the firm. Their deep transactional expertise will be a significant asset to the firm and our clients,” said Irell & Manella Managing Partner Andrei Iancu. “This addition demonstrates our commitment to the continued growth of our transactions practice, which has always been a vibrant part of our firm. Irell’s various practice areas time-and-again distinguish themselves as best-in-class, and this team of lawyers, led by Josh Grode, is a perfect fit into our culture of excellence.”

Grode is an industry leading attorney and advisor with decades of expertise that spans mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financings, and day-to-day corporate governance matters. He has a particular track record in transactions involving intellectual property across a wide range of industries, with an emphasis on media and entertainment. Grode regularly facilitates film, TV and video game financing and mergers and acquisitions, including representing and advising Colony Capital in the $660-million purchase of Miramax Films from Disney, the financing and build-out of Summit Entertainment and its eventual sale to Lionsgate, as well as numerous studio and producer co-financing transactions.

The Hollywood Reporter has named Grode to its “Power Lawyers” list of the 100 most influential entertainment lawyers in the nation every year since 2007. He has also been recognized as a leading entertainment dealmaker by Variety, the Los Angeles Business Journal and Super Lawyers magazine, among others. Grode earned his J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in 1991 and his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1988.

“Irell is one of the most prestigious firms in the country, if not the world, with world-class attorneys and resources. I look forward to working with my new partners and marrying our expertise with theirs to deliver the highest level of advisory service and solutions to our clients,” stated Grode.

Swanson, who joins as of counsel to the firm, advises clients with respect to corporate, intellectual property and entertainment-related transactions and issues. He has represented leading investment banks and entertainment lenders in arranging and administering numerous multi-tranche debt and equity motion picture credit facilities. Swanson has participated in media-related merger and acquisition transactions, with a specific focus on identifying and resolving intellectual property-related issues. He has counseled studios, production companies and financiers in connection with a wide range of issues related to the acquisition, financing, development, production and distribution of intellectual properties and entertainment content, including television programs, video games and motion pictures.

Swanson has been recognized as one of the best up-and-coming entertainment attorneys by Variety and as a Super Lawyers’ “Rising Star.” He earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1999 and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Saint John’s University in 1996.

Kozhaya, who will join as corporate counsel, focuses on entertainment, structured finance, bankruptcy and corporate matters. He regularly advises private equity funds, investment and commercial banks, and studios in entertainment-related transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, leveraged acquisition financings, asset securitizations, production financings, co-financings and other debt and equity financings. Kozhaya represents studios, production companies, video game publishers and developers, and financiers in connection with development, production and licensing agreements.

Kozhaya has been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers every year since 2004. He earned his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in 2001 and his B.A. from California State University, Fullerton in 1998. Following law school, Kozhaya clerked in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.

According to Klein, co-chair of the transactions practice, “This is an ideal addition for Irell and our transactions practice, especially in the growth areas of corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. They will enhance our ability to provide clients with the highest quality service in the Irell tradition. “



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