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The Lawyer Who's Leading the Writers' Strike

Striking Hollywood writers were back at the bargaining table yesterday for the first time since going out on strike three weeks ago, and at the helm of the negotiations on their behalf was a lawyer, Patric Verrone. But Verrone is there not as a legal adviser, but as one of the writers -- one who happens to be in his second term as president of the Writers Guild of America West.

While Verrone started out as a lawyer, he quickly thought better of it. Upon his graduation from Boston College Law School (my alma mater) in 1984, he headed south to Fort Myers, Fla., to practice real-estate and estate-planning law as a junior associate with a firm there. After barely a year, he took a three-month sabbatical from the firm and went to Los Angeles, never to return. He followed in the footsteps of friends from his undergraduate time as co-editor of the Harvard Lampoon. In the more than two decades since, Verrone has made his living as a writer and producer, primarily of animated shows including "Rugrats," "Futurama," "The Simpsons," "Class of 3000" and "Pinky and the Brain." It appears to have been a good move. As a Boston College profile this week says, his programs have received numerous honors, including two Emmys. In 2002, the WGA gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award in animation writing.

His dual lives as president of the Writers Guild and writer of children's television provide comic incongruity that is not lost on Verrone, the BC profile says. In a speech last year to the FCC, he began, "I will comment on a subject of vital importance to our industry, to our democracy, and to our free speech. And then I will return to my profession writing a cartoon about a crab monster from outer space."

The profile provides these links to more about Verrone:

By the way, Verrone did not abandon law practice altogether. According to this Law Blog post from Nov. 6 and the Wall Street Journal story it quotes, Verrone, out of work during the last writers' strike in 1988, took the California bar exam and later volunteered with the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 27, 2007 at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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