Joseph P. Costa
Joseph P. Costa brings approximately 30 years of litigation and transactional experience to the firm. He worked in the litigation departments of Finley, Kumble, Wagner; Ervin, Cohen & Jessup and Leopold, Petrich & Smith before opening up his own firm.
Since opening his own firm in 1994, Mr. Costa has enjoyed a litigation practice that equally balances plaintiff and defense representation. In addition to his wide-ranging entertainment, employment, and general business litigation work, Mr. Costa works with an array of entertainment and media clients in the capacity of general counsel, specifically advising companies on employment and business related matters. He has represented talent and production companies in contract drafting and negotiations and has extensive transactional experience when representing these clients. Specifically, Mr. Costa has an expertise in matters relating to copyright infringement, trademark infringement, employment (including sexual harassment), Internet law, rights of publicity, transactional and litigation services relating to the direct response industry, licensing agreements, real estate litigation and general business litigation and transactional matters.
Mr. Costa has performed legal services for clients that have included, Lucy Liu, Christopher Lloyd, Deborah Winger, Bob Marley LLC, ATT, Foote Cone & Belding, The Gersh Agency, Paradigm, Savvier, and the Perfect Pushup.
Joseph Costa grew up on Long Island, New York, before attending the University of California, Los Angeles, where he majored in English literature. He attended law school at the National Law Center, George Washington University, where he served as the President and Editor in Chief of the Moot Court Board. He has lectured extensively and taught classes at UCLA, through the Beverly Hills Bar Association, before the Association of Talent Agencies and at the Sundance Film Festival.
Joseph Costa was selected by his colleagues as a Southern California Super Lawyer for the years 2004-2014. He has been featured domestically and internationally on television and radio programs to discuss numerous issues relating to the entertainment industry, including on Celebrity Justice, and Access Hollywood. Joe is the proud father of four daughters and resides in Pacific Palisades, California.
Mr. Costa is a respected neutral who has served as a Judge Pro Tem, for the Los Angeles Superior Court. As part of the training leading to this pro bono service, he completed a certification Judicial training program. He likewise has volunteered as a Certified Neutral, for the Los Angeles Superior Court ADR Panel after successfully completing a certification program through the Strauss Institute at Pepperdine University. Mr. Costa has received training on issues relating to sexual violence and has been selected by one of the nation's top ranked college's as its first Title IX external adjudicator. The law regarding Title IX dispute resolution is a newly evolving area of law with potentially life changing consequences for those involved. Mr. Costa's vast employment law experience and balanced representation of both plaintiffs and defendants in sexual harassment matters, combined with his training specific to sexual violence and the applicable burdens of proof and requirements when fact finding under Title IX claims, well positions Mr. Costa as an emerging leader as an external neutral adjudicator for these types of disputes.
The following is a brief summary of some of Mr. Costa's previous Speaking Engagements:
Guest Lecturer, Association of Talent Agencies – Employment Business Seminar: “Employment Matters for Agency Owners and Managers.”
Guest Lecturer, CLE Speaker for programs through the Diversity Workshop, Beverly Hills Bar Association. Guest Lecturer, UCLA Extension, Speaker for programs relating to artist and musician rights and protections.
Guest Lecturer, California Lawyers for the Arts, the "Rights of Joint Copyright Holders.”
Guest Lecturer, the Sundance Film Festival, “The Nuts and Bolts of Independent Film Production.”
The following is a brief summary of some of Mr. Costa's Additional Pro Bono Service:
Founder of Santalawyer.com, a holiday adopt a family program for Los Angeles law firms.
Legislative Counseling for introduction to the United Nations regarding the hearing impaired. Volunteer involvement at "La Puente", a privately funded adult education center for the underprivileged in East Los Angeles.
Volunteer, FEMA, Santa Monica earthquake disaster relief counseling.
Executive Committee for the Entertainment Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
Panel Counsel to the California Lawyers for the Arts.
Robert s. Besser
Robert Besser has 45 years of trial and appellate experience in multiple jurisdictions and multiple areas of the law. He is admitted to, and has argued cases before, the Ninth Circuit and Sixth Circuit courts of appeal. He has tried cases in diverse jurisdictions, including New York, Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville and Seattle in Federal, State and Bankruptcy Courts.
Mr. Besser received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from New York University. Before being admitted to the California Bar in 1970, he worked for Bancroft Whitney Publishing where he wrote articles for ALR and edited Bernie Witkin’s works on California Law.
As a trial lawyer he has defended The Heart Association and the Braille Institute against challenges to their will bequests in probate court, defended Union Oil Company of California and Mobil Oil in numerous jury trials throughout California and defended major insurance companies on policy claims.
Since 1985 Robert Besser has concentrated most of his efforts in and around the entertainment business, with an emphasis on music and copyright law. He has both prosecuted and defended copyright infringement claims, audit claims and general contract disputes for independent record labels, artists and independent music publishing companies. He also has handled an occasional celebrity divorce.
Mr. Besser has been active a theatrical producer, having co-owned a theater in Santa Monica, and is currently representing clients that are attempting to mount Broadway productions.
Mr. Besser has taught courses in trial practice and recently completed two years as an adjunct professor of constitutional law. He plays golf when he can (looking forward to the day when he will shoot his age) and spends as much time as possible with his grandson in New York and his granddaughter in California.
(BIO COMING SOON)