Leopold, Petrich & Smith Legal Team Joins Ballard Spahr

Two nationally renowned Media and Entertainment Law practices have joined forces to create a powerhouse team with an expanded presence in Los Angeles.

Ballard Spahr was named 2019 Law Firm of the Year for Media Law and Copyright Law by U.S. News and World Report – Best Lawyers. It also serves clients in business and transactions, finance, intellectual property, litigation, and real estate, with lawyers in 15 offices around the country.

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Practice Areas

  • Entertainment
  • Civil Litigation
  • Copyright and Trademark
  • Libel and Slander
  • Unfair Competition
  • Insurance Law


  • University of CaliforniaatLosAngeles School of Law, 1965, LL.B.
    • Order of the Coif
    • Law Review: Managing Editor, University of California Law Review, 1964 - 1965
  • University of California, Los Angeles, 1962, A.B.


  • California, 1966
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan


2049 Century Park East
Suite 3110
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310-277-3333
Fax: 310-277-7444
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Louis P. Petrich

Mr. Petrich is among the most experienced and trusted attorneys practicing media law.  He has argued several landmark intellectual property and First Amendment cases, and his clients include entertainment leaders in motion pictures, television, and insurance.

Mr. Petrich frequently lectures on copyright, right of publicity and media issues, and has advised legislators on the development of media law at the state and federal level. He has served on the Board of Trustees and as past president of the Los Angeles Copyright Society, of which he is currently a member.

Selected Experience:

  • Lead counsel, obtained summary judgment in Harter v. Disney Enterprises Inc., 104 U.S.P.Q.2d 1547 (E.D. Mo. 2012) ("Santa Paws" movies)
  • Lead counsel, obtained summary judgment in Muller v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 794 F.Supp.2d 429 (S.D.N.Y. 2011), affirmed 2012 WL5439910 (2d Cir. 2012) ("Alien v. Predator" movie)
  • Trial and appellate attorney for Lions Gate in obtaining a defense jury verdict in Eastern District of Texas in West v. Tyler Perry, Lions Gate on copyright infringement case against movie Diary of A Mad Black Woman (Dec. 2008), 2009 WL 2225569, and affirmance in the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit, 2010 WL 3303752.
  • Briefed and argued to California Supreme Court in Gates v. Discovery Communications, Inc., 34 Cal. 4th 679 (2004). Persuaded Court to overrule its 1971 holding in Briscoe v. Readers’ Digest Assn., Inc., 4 Cal.3d 529 which had upheld privacy right claims against public disclosure of facts in public record regarding criminal activity because of the passage of time.
  • Briefed and argued to Sixth Circuit, in Murray Hill Productions v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 361 F.3d 312 (6th Cir. 2004) (movie Jingle All The Way.).  After a Michigan jury rendered a verdict for plaintiff for $19 million, obtained a reversal with directions to dismiss.
  • Briefed and argued to US Supreme Court in Stewart v. Abend, 490 U.S. 207 (1990) regarding revocation of renewal term copyright in Rear Window case.
  • Briefed and argued to en banc panel of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Subafilms v. MGM Pathe Communications Co., 24 F.3d 1088 (9th Cir. 1994) regarding limits on extraterritorial reach of U.S. Copyright laws regarding Yellow Submarine.
  • Trial and appellate defense counsel in Shaw v. Lindheim re TV series The Equalizer. Obtained summary judgment which was reversed.   Upon remand, obtained JNOV in light of intervening decision in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service.  809 F. Supp. 1393 (C.D. Cal. 1992).
  • Trial and appellate counsel in Olson v. National Broadcasting Co., 855 F.2d 1446 (9th Cir. 1988) (TV series The A-Team). 
  • Trial and appellate counsel in Baxter v. MCA, Inc., 812 F.2d 421(9th Cir. 1987) (movie E.T., the Extraterrestrial).  Obtained summary judgment on claim against theme for musical soundtrack; after remand from reversal, successfully defended Universal City Studios at trial, affirmed in unreported decision.
  • Defense counsel in Litchfield v. Spielberg, 736 F.2d 1352 (9th Cir, 1984)
  • Defense and appellate counsel in Miller v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 650 F.2d 1365 (C.A.5 (Fla.) 1981)
  • Appellate counsel for defense in Ferguson v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 584 F.2d 111 (C.A.5 (Tex.) 1978)
  • Frequent advisor to, and author of amicus briefs for, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
  • Counsel to MPAA on 1999 amendments to California post-mortem right of publicity rights statute, Civil Code section 990.


  • Chapter on Trial Techniques in Jury and Bench Trials of Copyright Cases, Intellectual Property Counseling and Litigation, Matthew Bender;
  • MLRC Bulletin (2004) Fair Use

Professional Activity:

  • Frequent lecturer on copyright, right of publicity and media law, most recently MLRC/Southwestern Media & Entertainment Law Conference (Jan. 2012); Copyright Society USA Conference (Feb. 2012); USC Entertainment Law Seminar (Mar. 2012); Loyola Entertainment Law and Litigation Symposium (Nov. 2012); ABA CLE teleconference 2010; and Copyright Law panelist in 2010 and 2011 at Seminars for Federal Judges Sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center and the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology); and LA Copyright Society 2009.
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Media Law Resource Center, current President, Defense Counsel Section, MLRC (2014)
  • Media Law Resource Center, current Vice-President, Defense Counsel Section, MLRC (2013)
  • Chairperson MLRC, Entertainment Law Committee (2005-09)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
  • California State Bar Association, Member
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society, 1980 – 1982, Board of Trustees
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society, 1995 – 2000, Board of Trustees
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society, 1987 – 1988, President
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society, Member

Selected Recognition:

  • Listed, Chambers USA 2009-2015
  • Listed in "Best Lawyer" in 2005-2012 editions of "The Best Lawyers in America"
  • Named a "Top Lawyer" in The Hollywood Reporter's "Power Lawyers 2007" List
  • Frequently listed in Southern California Super Lawyers
  • Named a "Best Lawyer" in The Best Lawyers in America 2014 - Litigation - Intellectual Property (Copyright Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC)