The New York City labor union and entertainment law firm whose main client is the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees is finally opening a branch in Los Angeles. Robert S. Giolito, who has been the general counsel of the Directors Guild of America for the last five years, will head what will officially be the West Coast office for Spivak, Lipton, Watanabe, Spivak, Moss & Orfan.Giolito said he will “focus primarily on negotiation and contract enforcement issues” for the IATSE’s 18 Hollywood locals. The firm “didn’t have anybody out here to service those clients and the workload got to be such that they needed someone to head up a Los Angeles branch,” he added.Giolito sees his mission as furthering the bond, based on mutual self-interest, that exists between the IA under president Thomas Short and the DGA under its executive director Jay Roth. He expressed enthusiasm for his new job: “You don’t leave my DGA post to go anywhere but up.” Giolito said he will transition from his DGA job through April 1. The location and size of the new office have yet to be determined. “Bob Giolito has represented both above- and below-the-line employees in the film and television industries for many years and is very familiar with the work that they perform and how the industry is run,” said Steven Spivak, the firm’s senior partner, who is also general counsel to the IA. “With Bob at the helm of our West Coast office, the potential is unlimited.”Giolito has been a labor lawyer for over 30 years. Much of that time was spent in Atlanta, where he founded a firm representing unions. IATSE was one of his clients and he was southern counsel for the IA for a number of years. He came to Los Angeles in 2002 to take the job of DGA general counsel.”It’s been a real privilege to have served at the DGA and to have worked with one of the most talented staffs in the industry,” he said. “I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned in representing some of the most creative and hard-working people as we have in the business.”DGA national executive director Roth said, “Bob has served the Guild and its members with great skill and resolve.”Spivak, Lipton already represents many IATSE locals including stagehands, cinematographers, motion picture camera operators, scene and costume designers, motion-picture projectionists, makeup artists, hairstylists, theatrical wardrobe employees, theatrical ushers, treasurers and ticket sellers, to name a few.It also serves as counsel to other private- and public-sector labor organizations, including unions of live stage actors and writers for television, motion pictures and electronic news.
Written by Jack Egan