Every legal professional has a defining second in his profession. For peter l. Skolnik, that second came in 1987 while he become taking his first deposition as an accomplice with cravath, swaine & moore. “after nine months with the company,” skolnik recalls, “i used to be sent off to take a deposition of the chairman of the board of the 3m agency. It became a merger and acquisition takeover, big-stakes litigation. Because it became raging in 20 specific jurisdictions, the prison crew turned into stretched thin sufficient that [firm leaders], taking a deep breath, in all likelihood said, ‘okay, we are able to send skolnik off.’ so, i am going into my first deposition. “it become held in 3m’s workplace in the convention room adjacent the chairman of the board’s workplace. There has been a nearby legal professional from minneapolis, who i had in no way met before, however had spoken to on the smartphone. He become the neighborhood representative on the case. I used to be representing grand metropolitan, the british organisation that was looking to take over pillsbury. The chairman of the board of 3m become a member of the board of administrators at pillsbury, so i was deposing him. “we get to the primary wreck, an hour and a 1/2 in. The chairman’s secretary comes into the convention room and asks if all of us would like a few espresso and cookies. My corresponding attorney says, ‘yeah, and convey a few red meat for skolnik here.’ i straight away knew i used to be doing it proper. It became one of those lifestyles-maintaining moments. I said to myself, ‘yeah, you’re a litigator.’” it’s a scene that might be memorable for any firstyear partner, however possibly even greater so for skolnik. Not like maximum new lawyers on the firm, he changed into in his 40s, 44 to be exact. And he wasn’t absolutely sure approximately his selection to adjust his career song until that very moment. Today, skolnik is one of recent jersey’s top intellectual property, leisure and media law attorneys, as a associate at lowenstein sandler in roseland. Amongst his customers are david chase, author of the sopranos, whom he defended towards a fit added by a brand new jersey prosecutor claiming ownership of the concept of the hit hbo show and annoying half of the proceeds (the healthy turned into brushed off, appealed and one final issue is still currently being debated). He has additionally represented jamie johnson, an inheritor to the johnson & johnson own family fortune and a documentary filmmaker, and has accomplished work for the property of vladimir nabokov. But his course to regulation became not a straight line. As an alternative, it bears a resemblance to the maze in stephen king’s the shining — big and circuitous. It started out at a apparently predictable place to begin for a top felony thoughts: harvard college. But skolnik’s degree changed into in english literature, no longer law. Reputedly a mover and shaker in the whole lot he does, skolnik rose from a freshman role as the lead in gilbert and sullivan’s yeoman of the defend and the sorcerer to directing productions, inclusive of the fantasticks, to setting on arthur miller’s a view from the bridge, the primary american play ever supplied on harvard’s foremost level. His subsequent circulate turned into to columbia university to pursue an mfa in level route. He spent most of his time as assistant director to alan schneider at the broadway displays of harold pinter’s the birthday party and robert anderson’s i never sang for my father, amongst other productions. He then spent a decade operating in theater, television and movie at the same time as driving a cab on the aspect. Those had been thrilling instances, he says. “one among my favored juxtapositions changed into when, while i used to be riding the cab, i was employed to be the assistant to the manufacturer in this movie to find a man (its twin whammy topics of teen pregnancy and abortion triggered it, as skolnik paraphrases mel brooks, to ‘near in egypt’). As a result, one night, at 5, i turned in my cab. The next morning at nine, i was picked up via a chauffeured limousine to be driven round new york, scouting locations for this movie. I went from the front seat of a cab to the again seat of a limo. It form of epitomized what those days had been like.” with a family at domestic — skolnik has three daughters — he decided to pursue a more solid profession. His now-former wife was in publishing and so have been a lot of his buddies, so he determined to offer that a shot. He knew not anything approximately the sector however his information of tv and movie made him treasured as a literary agent. In that role, he may want to research the business whilst supporting to promote the performance rights to his customers’ residences. Skolnik soon became an professional in publishing contracts and copyright regulation and finally served as the president of the impartial literary agents affiliation. While the business enterprise he worked with moved into the identical building as cardozo law faculty, it seemed like kismet. In his 40s, he cut up his time among law faculty and the literary company. He graduated magna cum laude from cardozo, and the dean, appalled that skolnik wasn’t taking the ones honors into the “real” legal world, set him up for a lunch with an lawyer from cravath, swain & moore. Skolnik have become so intrigued by way of the company that, at the age of 43, “older than about half of the partners at the company,” he became an companion. After three and a 1/2 years of general litigation with cravath, he moved back to where his coronary heart lay: publishing and entertainment law. He partnered with friends inside the law company of norwick & schad. But transferring from a huge law company that never sleeps to a three-legal professional exercise with “a secretary who couldn’t type” changed into too huge a change and he began to look for some center ground. He discovered what he became searching out at lowenstein sandler, in which he turned into in a position “to broaden precisely the kind of exercise that i simply desired to develop, that's highbrow property, especially copyright and trademark, first change work, defamation work and amusement regulation,” the now sixty one-year-old counselor says. As an example, when courtroom television wishes an lawyer in new jersey, skolnik receives the decision. He additionally does defamation counseling for abc, a&e and hbo. It was partly thru the latter connection that he have become involved inside the sopranos litigation. “david [chase] become sued in new jersey federal courtroom,” skolnik relates. “whilst the lawsuit hit, david’s transaction legal professional had gotten more than one names and requested hbo who they endorsed, and hbo encouraged me. I suppose it was due to the fact having grown up within the theater, i knew how to speak the speak and walk the walk.” he has additionally been capable of tap his contacts from his days as a literary agent. One such client is the guardians of the nabokov estate. He currently treated a case for them concerning the e-book lo’s diary, a remodeling of the russian master’s debatable conventional lolita, instructed from the lady’s point of view. Skolnik become able to negotiate a deal that satisfied the property’s rights to the copyright whilst permitting the e book to be posted. Presently, he's worried in defending nabokov’s son, dmitri, in a defamation case in russia. And his work with johnson & johnson heir jamie johnson has allowed him to maintain involved in the international of cinema. Whilst johnson changed into sued for invasion of privacy by one of the subjects of his 2003 documentary born wealthy (which assesses the lives of kids of the obscenely wealthy — it functions interviews with ivanka trump, georgina bloomberg and s. I. Newhouse, amongst others), skolnik turned into able to get the case thrown out of courtroom. Johnson determined that this prison drama might make a charming addition to the movie. “as an attorney who works with numerous massively wealthy households, peter has a completely unique know-how of the secrecy that surrounds wonderful wealth,” johnson notes. “as a result of property planning, rich human beings frequently proportion secrets with their lawyers that they wouldn’t even sense relaxed telling their very own households. Once i to start with spoke to him about my film mission, he regarded to assist the idea, however he expressed challenge that i might have difficulty getting wealthy people to talk on digicam. He virtually speaks from a function of a exquisite authority on the subject, and that i felt it changed into vital to file his opinion.” this added peter skolnik full circle, returned to the films. He made his on-display debut in johnson’s documentary as himself. The movie aired on hbo within the fall of 2004.