DLA Piper has announced that accomplished attorneys Tom Ara and Robert Sherman have joined the firm to lead the Entertainment Finance and Transactions practices based out of the firm's Century City office in Los Angeles. Ara and Sherman will together serve as co-chairs of the Entertainment Finance practice, while Ara will chair the Entertainment Transactions practice.

"Tom and Rob are both well-respected in the entertainment and finance industries, and their combined experience representing media companies and financiers throughout the world make them an ideal fit for our national and global platform," said Frank Ryan, co-chair of DLA Piper's US and global IPT practices and deputy chair of the firm's Media, Sport and Entertainment sector.

Ara has been involved in a multitude of transactions throughout the world in both traditional media and emerging technologies, representing media companies, financiers and industry participants of all types in financing and strategic industry transactions. Ara has successfully counseled his clients in connection with billions of dollars of complex financing, corporate and M&A transactions involving some of the most successful feature film and television franchises, as well as iconic comic book properties. As one of the early legal pioneers from the West to serve the Asian media and entertainment market, Ara offers valuable insights to his clients, both as a lawyer and as a trustee of the prestigious Washington, DC-based US-Asia Institute. He has also been involved in numerous complex industry transactions involving Europe and the Middle East.

"DLA Piper has presented us with a unique opportunity to establish a marquee entertainment finance and transactional practice at the firm to expand upon its existing world-class Sports, Media and Entertainment sector, and to focus on delivering top-notch legal services to a rapidly evolving entertainment and media marketplace while reimaging practice group leadership for a new generation," Ara said. "The firm's commitment to establishing a foothold in the entertainment and media industry since the merger with Liner LLP just one year ago is commendable and further affirmed our decision to join DLA Piper to expand these practices."

Investment funds, banks, institutional investors and media companies value Sherman's wide-ranging experience in structuring complex domestic and cross-border financings, strategic transactions, workouts and restructurings. Sherman's clients value his pragmatic and results-oriented approach to business and legal problems and his deep knowledge of arcane asset classes, including film libraries, music publishing libraries, recorded music catalogs, video games and other IP assets. In addition to representing lenders and investors, Sherman counsels domestic and international production companies, motion picture studios, television and film production and distribution companies, record companies, music publishers, concert and other live event promoters, and other clients involved in complex motion picture, television, digital content and music industry transactions.

"Rob and Tom also bring highly valued knowledge and experience related to their representation of banks, private equity investors, hedge funds, strategics, sponsors and borrowers in financing and strategic media and entertainment industry transactions as well as, in Rob's case, his representation of a number of leading direct lenders and other non-bank financiers in financings spanning a range of asset classes," said John Cusack, global co-chair of the firm's Finance practice. "Their skill set and industry-specific relationships will bolster our Finance offerings significantly."

"I couldn't be more excited to join DLA Piper as a partner in the firm's Finance group. The chance to establish a top-flight Entertainment Finance practice in the global capital of media and entertainment and to practice alongside the firm's acclaimed Sports, Media and Finance partners is a unique honor and a great opportunity," Sherman said. "I look forward to helping the firm expand and broaden the scope of the finance and transactional services offered to our clients on the West Coast and across the firm's global platform. I'm very much looking forward to taking advantage of the firm's deep local knowledge and the leadership of Stuart Liner, as well as its impressive international platform, for the benefit of my clients."

Ara and Sherman join from Greenberg Traurig LLP. Ara received his J.D. from Loyola of Los Angeles Law School and his B.S. from San Jose State University. Sherman received his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and his B.A. from SUNY Buffalo.