Christopher Chatham brings deep industry and business advisory experience to Manatt’s nationally renowned Entertainment group
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a multidisciplinary, integrated professional services firm, announced today that distinguished entertainment lawyer Christopher Chatham has joined Manatt Entertainment as a partner in the Firm’s Los Angeles office. Accompanied by Associate Sandra Bignone, Chatham will serve as trusted legal counsel to global icons and entertainment powerhouses across the gamut of sophisticated industry matters, further strengthening Manatt’s role as the go-to adviser for those leading the transformation of the entertainment sector.
Frequently recognized as one of the entertainment industry’s top lawyers, Chatham advises clients on a variety of corporate and litigation matters, including production issues, management strength, deal structuring, new media business, employment matters and other strategic planning. As general counsel to some of entertainment’s most innovative stakeholders—from well-known stars, directors and producers to independent production companies and large corporations—Chatham has run point and closed overall deals with major networks, studios and streamers and is the go-to Hollywood dealmaker for consumer brands backed by celebrity influencers. Chatham also has extensive experience working with clients on partnership agreements, joint ventures, talent holding deals and licensing agreements, as well as advising on personnel matters.
“Chris has a stellar reputation as one of entertainment’s most sought-after advisors, and his experience aligns with the type of pioneering work we regularly support on behalf of our clients,” said Donna L. Wilson, Manatt’s CEO and Managing Partner. “Chris’ arrival will amplify our already robust offerings as we continue to counsel clients through the full spectrum of legal and business matters fueling the growth of the entertainment industry, as well as other cutting-edge sectors in which Manatt focuses.”
Accompanying Chatham at Manatt is Associate Sandra Bignone, who works closely with him on a wide range of business matters. She has extensive experience structuring agreements for television and film projects with major industry distributors and regularly represents influencers in a variety of business deals and partnership opportunities. Bignone is on the front lines in managing the day-to-day needs of clients including the top syndicated television talk shows as well as a multimillion-dollar celebrity-consumer brand. She also has been featured in Variety’s Legal Impact Report as a rising star in the Up Next category.
“Through his unparalleled understanding of the entertainment space, Chris will be an instrumental part of our work as we help our clients look for opportunities to enhance engagement and expand their businesses,” said Jordan Bromley, partner and leader of Manatt Entertainment. “We are thrilled to have him join our team of forward-thinking, effective and efficient legal and consulting professionals with deep roots in the exploding creator economy.”
“Manatt’s team of visionaries and creative thinkers work with the biggest names in entertainment, and their philosophy of bringing a business lens to their work really resonated with me,” Chatham said. “I am excited to join such an impressive group of professionals with the shared goals of talent advocacy, innovation and industry transformation.”
Manatt has been strategically expanding its roster of legal and business consulting professionals across its practices nationwide. Chatham and Bignone are just the latest additions on the West Coast, joining Technology and Intellectual Property Litigation Partner Timothy Lohse in Silicon Valley, Digital and Technology Transactions Partner Michel C. Narganes in San Francisco, Los Angeles-based entertainment litigation Counsel Sarah E. Moses, and nationally recognized trial attorney Naeun Rim also in Los Angeles. Other recent additions include full-time Pro Bono Attorney Alexandra S. McCown in New York; antitrust and litigation Partner Stephen D. Libowsky in Chicago; former CFPB regulator Bryan Schneider also in Chicago; former Massachusetts prosecutor Karin Bell; accomplished New York real estate Partner Ted Hunter; emerging companies/venture capital Partners Rustin M. Brown and Thomas W. Michael in D.C. and Los Angeles, respectively; Manatt Digital and Technology Managing Directors Kalon Gutierrez and Jennifer Millard in San Francisco; and sports executive Matthew L. Reece in Boston.
Chatham’s impactful work has earned him recognition as a top Hollywood dealmaker from various media publications across the country, including Variety’s Legal Impact Report and the publication’s highly competitive Dealmakers Impact Report. Before starting his career as a lawyer, Chatham was a corporate bond trader on Wall Street and a Registered Representative of the National Association of Securities Dealers, coordinating high-profile debt offerings for clients.
Chatham received his J.D. from Southwestern Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Bignone received her J.D. from Loyola Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University of San Diego.