Starting with the “walk out” period in television to developing profit participation and vertical integration lawsuits to recently suing ABC for Tokyo Broadcasting System over reality TV copyright protections, Stanton “Larry” Stein is one of the most reputable entertainment and media lawyers not only in the Los Angeles area, but also in the United States. He has represented big names in the entertainment industry starting in film with the Fondas and Redfords, in television with Rob Lowe and David Duchovny, and in music with J Lo, Madonna, Drake and most recently, Blake Shelton in a lawsuit over the recent cover of InTouch Magazine.
Beyond his achievements within his respected entertainment industry, Stein places his family as his number one priority. He prides himself on being able to spend quality time with his wife, two children and five grandkids, all of whom live within a block of his Santa Monica Canyon home.
“I’m very busy,” Stein says. “I have been my entire career. But there was never a soccer game or tennis match that my son played in that I missed. There was never a play or horseback riding event that my daughter was in that I missed. I always made my family my priority. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
Today, his daughter is a TV producer, currently producing iZombie and is married to an Academy Award winning effects supervisor. His son has a JD/MBA and serves as general counsel for an Internet marketing company. He is married to a psychologist just months away from earning her doctorate degree. “I can’t begin to explain how proud I am of my children and my 48-year marriage.” His wife was a professional dancer and an acupuncturist, who now takes daily lessons in dance, art and guitar.
Despite being awarded Entertainment Lawyer of the Year by the Beverly Hills Bar Association and the Century City Bar Association, as well as recipient of the ACLU Foundation’s Pro Bono Civil Liberties Award, Stein admits he wasn’t always the straight-A student. In fact, he credits his former high school debate coach for his academic turnaround.
“I must tell you, this debate coach was remarkable,” he says. “He was a former Shakespearean actor who lived with his mother, probably in his mid-60s. He would bring his lunch in a little paper bag every day, and allow people to come into his classroom during lunchtime. We would practice our oratory. He would drag us all over the state to compete. We weren’t the highest caliber students, but he was able to develop a debate team that actually did well. I was even nationally ranked. He really turned my life around,”
Around this time, Stein began reading up on current events in every newspaper and magazine he could get his hands on. “That’s when my grades started turning around. I started getting serious about academics,” he says. “Before that, I was a big screw-off, a disciplinary problem. I only wanted to play sports and create problems.”
Nationally ranked as a debate champion, Stein earned a debate scholarship to USC, where he earned an academic scholarship to pursue his law degree. Of his family, he was the first to obtain his undergraduate degree let alone his Juris Doctor.
When Stein announced to his family at the age of 7 that he was going to become a lawyer, the reactions weren’t mixed. “I’ll never forget it,” he says. “I had started watching ‘Perry Mason,’ but I’d never met a lawyer in my life. I was driving with my father and older brother when I made the announcement. My brother turned to me and said, ‘You’re not even a good student! You’ll never be a lawyer.’ I never really paid attention to them.”
Despite his success, Stein has managed to stay grounded, expressing acknowledgement toward the people he had supporting and encouraging him throughout his entire career. At the end of the day though, his family is the driving force behind the renowned attorney.
“I hope I am well-rounded,” he says. “Law is important to me, but my personal life, my spiritual life, sports – they’re all important to me. My family is the most important thing to me. Family, friends, community and spirituality – that’s really what it’s all about.” In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis and plays beach volleyball every Saturday and Sunday. He also likes to ponder various philosophies, spirituality and science, especially physics.
Currently serving as a senior partner in Liner LLP’s entertainment media litigation department, he remains passionate about what he does.
“The legal community has been very kind and has given me a lot of recognition and awards. I haven’t burnt myself out and I find many people ask me why I’m still practicing because truthfully, I don’t have to from an economic point of view. I do it because I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy working with the young people that I work with, other lawyers. Once it’s no longer fun, then I’m not going to do it.”
He is also working as an adjunct professor at USC teaching entertainment law. He regularly lectures at Berkeley Law and taught a course at Stanford Law a few years ago. This is one way he gives back to his community. Community is something Stein emphasized as a significant part of that balance of life. Stein hopes to set the example of balance between practicing law and a healthy, happy life to future generations.
“Part of my giving back is teaching because I think teachers and mentors can make a gigantic difference in a young person’s life. What I enjoy most about practicing law is being able to interact with students and young lawyers and hopefully have an impact on them. I try to teach them balance in life – that balance is very important. You can’t be a good lawyer unless you’re a good person. You can’t be happy in what you’re doing unless you’re spending quality time personally developing yourself and relationships. I think it’s very important to take care of yourself physically and spiritually and to have a fulfilling life independent of practicing law. I’m just as concerned with my student’s personal life as their professional life because I find that most lawyers aren’t very well-balanced and don’t take care of themselves physically, spiritually.”
Stein also loves the atmosphere that college campuses provide. Between the various perspectives of the students and their openness to life and experiences, he also enjoys conversing with them. “I love the approach of young people. They’re open and change is essential in their life. I think that your quality of life is determined by the ease with which you make changes and accept transitions in life,” Stein explained.
Stein truly loves his place in the entertainment law industry, as well as the quality time he devotes to his family and community. He acknowledges all the confident and positive influences he had throughout his entire career. From changing, challenging and enforcing law within the entertainment industry to creating new law to mentoring and teaching prospective lawyers, Stein recognizes his role within not only his career, but his community and personal life as well.
“I’ve been very fortunate. Life is good. I’m very appreciative of what I have and the opportunities I’ve had. A lot of people made it possible,” he says. “You don’t do it on your own. You can’t do it on your own.”