As the founder of Pafundi Law Firm, APC, Robert Pafundi believes that part of being a good lawyer, beyond having an in-depth knowledge of the law, is listening and understanding his clients, and being open, forthright and honest at every step in the process. He says, “I believe that talking openly and honestly through genuine conversations with my clients is at the heart of creating a solid and long-lasting relationship.” He believes this greatly improves the chances of having successful results and satisfied clients. And, most important, he creates an internal plan at the outset that is designed specifically to meet his client’s unique entertainment needs. He adds, “It’s what I would want. And my clients get nothing less from us.”
Robert is one of the only known Hollywood entertainment attorneys whose professional expertise includes having also been the owner of a legendary SAG-franchise talent agency. As owner and operator of MGA Talent, formerly The Mary Grady Agency, which was historically known as Hollywood’s “original children’s agency” and celebrated for, among other things, discovering and launching the careers of Mary-Kate and Ashley — The Olsen Twins, Pafundi has personal hands on expertise from all sides of the industry. During those years and since, Robert has represented more than 1000 children and young adult actors and actresses.
He currently represents iconic personalities such as Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), the four Ochoa Boys, well-known actors, Rick, Ryan, Raymond, and Robert, who are also known, collectively, for their breakout music career, as The Ochoa Boyz. Robert also represents actor Mateus Ward, television personalities/fashion models Kendall and Kylie Jenner (whom he works with on select issues along with the rest of the Jenner Team) and Emmy award-winning actress Christel Khalil (Lily Ashby, The Young & The Restless).
As an attorney, Robert has addressed many of the most important and recurring issues in the entertainment industry. For example, Robert has resolved disputes for countless actors, actresses, talent agents, talent managers, producers and production companies. He does this by either stepping in early to head off expensive and time-consuming litigation, or, when necessary, zealously litigating cases through strategies that are customized to fit each particular client’s needs. This approach has led to early and cost effective success through simple and straightforward demand letters, mediation, or arbitration, or when called for, through trial and the appellate process.
One of many noteworthy cases involved Robert’s representation of a Series Regular actor on a hit Fox Network Television series, where he successfully appealed a trial court judgment that would have required a child star to pay almost $600,000 in commissions to a talent manager. In this landmark decision, the Court of Appeals for the Second District reversed the judgment against the child, holding that the 10-year-old actor had the right to void or disaffirm the management contract. The Justices unanimously concluded that the child actor had compelling rights that the arbitrator and the trial judge refused to acknowledge. See Berg v. Traylor (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 809. The appellate decision was widely reported in Hollywood trade publications because of its enormous impact on how talent representatives worked with Hollywood’s most vulnerable — its entertainment children.
Robert speaks and writes extensively on a huge array of subjects related to the practical, business, and of course the legal side of the entertainment industry, and in particular about children in Hollywood. While he is well-known and highly-regarded for his role in protecting children, he is often sought after by talent agents, talent managers, producers, production companies and representatives of the major networks who are seeking his advise, counsel or want to be educated on how best to work with children in entertainment.
Robert has been a special guest panel speaker for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) Foundation, the Entertainment Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and other entertainment industry groups and associations. He is currently an active member of the Advisory Board of Children in Film, one of the largest and most influential national on-line organizations dedicated to children in entertainment.
In what may seem as a rather unique twist to a traditional entertainment law practice, Robert has been brought in as an expert in contentious Family Law disputes and divorce proceedings where there has been actual or alleged misuse of the income and earnings of often very famous child actors by one or both parents in failed relationships.
Robert is also a sought-after expert by the national media in connection with hot topic entertainment issues. To mention a few, USA Today interviewed him, in connection with controversy and provocative pictures of superstar Miley Cyrus that appeared in Vanity Fair. The Washington Post interviewed him about controversial Kids Reality TV programming, and The Business Law News, the official publication of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, published his article that explored issues relating to contracting with Minors.
Robert authored Safe Stardom: How to Protect Your Children on Their Road to Fame, which was released by Dunham Books in 2014. Safe Stardom is much more than a book, it’s the start of a New Movement whose mission is protecting Hollywood’s most vulnerable and most precious, its entertainment children.
Robert had his debut as a film Producer when he had the great fortune to work with a talented group in creating The 25,000 Mile Love Story. This award-winning inspirational documentary film chronicles the amazing journey of Swiss endurance athlete Serge Roetheli and wife, Nicole, whose thirst for adventure and desire to raise money and awareness for children suffering across the globe propelled Serge to run the distance equal to the Earth’s circumference. The epic journey was directed and written by Emmy Nominated producer John Davies, and brilliantly narrated by 2014 Oscar Winner, John Ridley (Screenplay Adaptation, 12 Years a Slave). The film has already won top honors at six film festivals across American, has received seven additional nominations, accolades and awards of recognition through out the world, and the production team is optimistic about greater levels of success in the coming year.
On a personal note, Robert was awarded his Shodan Degree in Bujinkan Taijutsu and Ninjutsu, the most historic and traditional of all Japanese Martial Arts. He is a certified PADI Scuba Diver, and an FAA Instrument-Rated Private Pilot. He is the proud father of two children, now young adults, and lives in Los Angeles, California.
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