Ryan Murphy’s Longtime Lawyer Leaves Firm to Work for Mega-Producer

Hollywood Power Lawyer Craig Emanuel is leaving Paul Hastings to move in-house to work for longtime client Ryan Murphy.

Emanuel, who has been a mainstay on THR‘s annual spotlight of the top attorneys in the entertainment industry, has also worked with the likes of Tom Hanks, Daniel Day Lewis, Julie Delpy, Robert Rodriguez, Luke Davies and Tony Gilroy, as well as companies including MSG Entertainment (Madison Square Garden) and Animal Logic.

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“While the decision to leave my clients and Paul Hastings has not been an easy one, knowing they are in such great hands with my colleagues has helped make the transition an easier one,” said Emanuel in a statement.

Word of the move to advise Murphy full-time began to spread in late August, and the firm confirmed the transition on Monday. “After practicing as an attorney for more than 42 years, Craig Emanuel, longtime partner and former global chair of the Entertainment and Media group at Paul Hastings, is retiring from our firm to work as an advisor to his long-time client, Ryan Murphy,” read the firm’s statement. “We are excited for Craig and look forward to continuing to work with Craig’s clients, including an ongoing relationship with him and Ryan in this new capacity.”

This comes amid a busy summer for the American Horror Story showrunner, which saw him move his overall deal from Netflix to Disney and launch a $500,000 strike support fund, as well as have a dustup with a former Writers Guild of America strike captain over a since-deleted tweet that alleged he was encouraging crew to cross the picket line. (Murphy’s spokesman called the tweet “absolute nonsense” and “categorically false.”)

In an interview for his 2018 Power Lawyers profile, Emanuel described helping Murphy jump from 20th Century Fox to Netflix in a then-unprecedented $300 million deal as monumental. “In your career, you get one, maybe two deals if you’re lucky that change the face of what you’ve done,” he said, “and there’s no doubt that this was that deal.” Emanuel also made THR‘s list of Top Dealmakers that year in connection with his work on the mega-pact. With the landscape-shifting work under his belt, as well as deals for Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and series in the ongoing American Horror Story and Feud franchises, it’s not entirely surprising the attorney would choose to hone in on his work for the prolific creator and his Ryan Murphy Productions.

The attorney, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, joined Paul Hastings in 2018 when a group of entertainment partners left Loeb & Loeb. His philanthropic endeavors include serving on the board of directors of two civil rights non-profits, The Faith and Politics Institute and the March on Washington Film Festival, as well as work with the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance and Creative Community for Peace.

Sept. 18, 5:35 p.m. Updated with confirmation from Paul Hastings and comments from Emanuel and the firm.

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