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Berk Brettler: Hollywood Power Lawyers talk about teaming up for new company

Blair Berk and Andrew Brettler, two of the entertainment industry’s most well-known and respected lawyers, have teamed up to combine their civil and criminal practices into a one-stop-shop boutique firm.

A go-to civil litigator and permanent fixture THR‘s Power Lawyers list, Brettler’s current clients include Chelsea Handler, Sydney Sweeney, Amy Robach and Kevin O’Leary. Meanwhile, as one of the top attorneys in the industry handling criminal cases for both defendants and victims, Berk’s clients have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, and Alexandra Daddario.

Despite having met several times over the last decade in shared client cases such as Armie Hammer, they only met in person for the first time about five years ago. In mid-December, the duo — along with collaborators Jake Camara, Regina Peter, and Tom Jones — quietly launched their West Hollywood-based company.

In a new year with the new company, the co-founders of Berk Brettler spoke THR about why they took this surprising step and what they see in the future.

How long have you known each other?
Berk: We got to know each other really well about five years ago when we got the chance to work closely together on some back-to-back stuff that was pretty sensitive. In the end, thankfully, we were not only able to prevent the client from being sued or sued, but more importantly, prevented the cases from ever being unnecessarily publicized.

Of all the lawyers you’ve met over the years, what was it that made this the right fit?
Brettler: I realized very early on that she and I think about business and complicated legal stuff in the same way. We both have a hands-on approach to problem solving and advise our clients accordingly. But it was mainly the alliteration: Berk Brettler sounds good together.

Berk: Watching Andrew in action on some particularly complicated cases, I’ve seen firsthand his direct yet empathetic manner with clients, his incredible intellect, his ability to bring calm under very difficult circumstances, and most importantly his highly ethical judgment.

What is the biggest benefit and biggest challenge of combining civil and criminal justice work in a boutique firm?
Berk: Many of Andrew’s civil law clients will thankfully never have to walk to my side of the office and vice versa, but there are a number of cases where a client could potentially be exposed both under civil and criminal law. In our experience, a client can really benefit from lawyers who are experts in navigating both areas and who understand how one can really impact the other.

Brettler: For me, the biggest challenge was leaving my colleagues at Lavely & Singer, where I’ve spent most of my career. Marty Singer is more than just a mentor to me.

What is an interesting trend that you see in your work right now?
Berk: In my field of criminal justice, we are currently seeing an explosion of NFT and cryptocurrency investigations. I have also noticed that I have more and more clients who have been victims of crime asking me to represent them to advocate for them and help them navigate what can be a complicated criminal justice process.

Brettler: On the civilian side, I think we’re going to see an increase in trials. During the pandemic, files piled up and people are ready for their day in court.

What are your goals for Berk Brettler?
Brettler: We want to continue to provide our clients with the best legal services and be recognized as lawyers who not only work at the top of their field, but also treat their clients – and their opponents – with respect, empathy and compassion.

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