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Alan J. Levine Joins Entertainment Law Firm

November 17, 1999|JAMES BATES

Former Sony Pictures head Alan J. Levine on Tuesday returned to practicing law, joining the powerhouse entertainment law firm of Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca & Fischer.

Levine will be "of counsel," meaning that he won't be a partner in the firm. Since leaving Sony in 1996, Levine has been a business consultant in entertainment and media.

At the law firm, Levine said he plans to explore possibilities in new media, working to "bring traditional media players together with innovative entrepreneurs in the digital world."

Levine was forced out as head of Sony's film and TV unit amid a tumultuous year at the Japanese-owned company.

His departure came on the heels of the firing of film chief Mark Canton, and followed an ill-fated attempt by Levine to hire former agent Arnold Rifkin, which was rebuffed by Sony President Nobuyuki Idei.

Levine joined Sony when it bought Columbia Pictures in 1989. Before that, he practiced law for 18 years and was a partner in the entertainment law firm Armstrong, Hirsch & Levine from 1980 to 1989.

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Universal Pictures named Rick Finkelstein president of the studio to oversee business affairs.

Finkelstein previously was senior vice president, corporate development and strategic planning. He fills a gap left when former Universal co-Chairman Brian Mulligan was promoted to chief financial officer of Universal's parent Seagram Co.

Finkelstein will report to Universal Chairman Stacey Snider.

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