Meet Some of Our Legal Outsourcing Professionals, Who Take Us Beyond Typical Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO)
U.S.- LICENSED ATTORNEYS
A Harvard Law School graduate, Frank is Executive Vice President of SDD Global, admitted to the bar of the State of New York and the federal courts there. As an attorney at SmithDehn LLP, he has been a seasoned litigator and counselor, specializing in media law, libel defense, and intellectual property law. He recently won a New York jury trial in an art gallery dispute. At our parent law firm, Frank advises and represents clients around the world in matters of First Amendment law, rights of privacy and publicity, copyrights and trademarks, pre-publication and pre-broadcast review, and entertainment law. He assists in legal training and editing at SDD Global and is currently planning a one-year trip to India with his wife and four children, so that he can help manage the growth of our company on a first-hand basis. From 2002 to 2004, he was a Visiting Professor at the prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where he taught graduate classes in Media Law. He also is a former on-air correspondent for Court TV, and holds a Masters Degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Frank has won a number of media law litigations, and has provided content review and other legal advice to facilitate television programming for major television networks and magazine clients. He has also negotiated numerous employment contracts on behalf of professionals in the broadcast journalism industry.
Russell Smith is a co-founder of New-York-and-London-based SmithDehn LLP, one of the most innovative law firms in the U.S. and the U.K., and the first Western law firm to provide legal services from India. Russell and his partners formed SmithDehn mostly to provide top-tier results at affordable rates for creative individuals in the arts and entertainment fields, but the firm also attracted some of the world's largest media companies as clients in the process. Russell went to India to create SDD Global Solutions, a high-end legal outsourcing company, now with offices in Mysore, Bangalore, London and New York. SDD Global specializes in legal research, drafting of contracts and litigation papers, and all manner of services related to patents, copyrights, and trademarks. SDD Global is ranked as the #1 outsourcing company in India, the U.S., and the U.K., and #2 worldwide, out of over 2,700 vendors evaluated, according to the comprehensive 2010 survey of 6,547 clients by the Black Book of Outsourcing. Dubbed "The Maharaja of Media" by The American Lawyer magazine, Russell has counseled companies such as HBO, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Media Rights Capital, John Wiley & Sons, Reed Elsevier, Miramax Films, MTV Networks, Universal Records, Simon & Schuster, Channel Four Television (UK), American Broadcasting Companies, Def Jam Records, Penguin Books, King World Productions, Warner Books, Matthew Marks Gallery, American Playhouse, R/GA Digital Studios, Spin Magazine, and the Estates of Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, and John Cheever.
Russell also has worked for an unusually diverse range of prominent individuals, such as Sacha Baron Cohen ("Ali G," "Borat" and "Bruno"), Philip Glass, Mohamed Al Fayed, Sen. John Kerry, Erykah Badu, Graham Norton, Boy George, Chuck D, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Spike Lee, Jeffrey Toobin, Terry McMillan, Errol Morris, George C. Wolfe, Nelson Demille, and Richard Gere.
A Columbia Law School graduate, Russell has over 25 years of experience as a lawyer. He has handled trials and/or appeals in dozens of federal and state courts across the United States, including some of the most significant cases in the country. Most recently, in 2009, he and a legal team in India made headlines by defeating the Los Angeles libel suit, Doe v. HBO, winning a victory for comedians, comedy writers, broadcasters and film companies everywhere. Russell also has been production counsel, and among the defense counsel, for the "Borat" and "Bruno" movies. He also has been counsel for "Death of a President," the controversial film about the fictional assassination of President Bush. He planned and helped implement the successful multi-state litigation by the widow and children of author John Cheever, to retain control of Cheever's uncollected stories. He devised and wrote the petition for a writ of mandamus which lifted a broadcast ban affecting over 100 television stations in In re King World, resulting in the federal courts' nationwide adoption of a new device for the overturning of temporary restraining orders against the media. He conceived, and played a major part in executing, the winning strategy of Channel Four Television (UK) and filmmaker Paul Yule in their censorship battle to defend their documentary, "Damned in the U.S.A.," against a lawsuit and injunction filed and obtained by Rev. Donald Wildmon and his American Family Association.
In other fights for free expression, Russell wrote the briefs that allowed the publication of Jeffrey Toobin's critique of the Iran-Contra prosecution under Lawrence Walsh, and he won precedent-setting victories against libel suits brought against best-selling authors Terry McMillan and Nelson Demille. On behalf of Public Enemy rapper Chuck D, he won a seven-figure settlement in a widely watched suit against malt liquor manufacturers and marketers who traded on his client's image. As pro bono Special Counsel to the Coalition for the Homeless, Russell won a billion-dollar victory for indigent families with children in foster care.
Russell was appointed by the UK Government's Bloody Sunday Tribunal of Inquiry to act as counsel. In 2010, the Inquiry concluded that in 1972, the British Army unjustifiably fired on a civil rights march in the North of Ireland, killing 14 unarmed protesters. The Inquiry's conclusion regarding this massacre led to a public apology by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Russell also was lead trial counsel in "the Rent case," which he filed to obtain dramaturg Lynn Thomson's fair share of royalties and credit for what the courts recognized was her role in radically transforming the musical play, Rent, from an unproduceable draft into a Pulitzer Prize-winning success. The case resulted in one of the most widely reported trials of 1998, followed by what is probably the most important appellate decision in the last few decades on the subject of joint authorship. In the end, after the courts ruled that Dr. Thomson had made a significant and copyrightable contribution to Rent that could form the basis for an injunction, Russell obtained a favorable settlement that addressed all of the issues she had raised.
Russell has written numerous legal articles for trade newspapers and law textbooks, and has lectured on several occasions, both at Columbia Law School and in various public forums. He has been interviewed repeatedly on television and radio, and has been quoted countless times by news publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and The Times of India.
Bruce Campbell, Special Advisor at SDD Global, is a specialist in corporate finance and intellectual property transactions. Bruce started his practice as an attorney at Hogan & Hartson, one of the world's largest international law firms, where he worked for six years. Inspired by his entrepreneurial clients, Bruce opened his own firm in February 2003 (www.campbelllawgroup.com). After experiencing the work of SDD Global first hand as a client, and after spending time with us at our headquarters in Mysore, India, Bruce decided to work with as an advisor to help further develop our capabilities. In addition to offering training for our lawyers and strategic advice, we have worked out an arrangement by which Bruce can work cooperatively with SDD Global on client projects within his areas of expertise. In his ten years of legal practice, Bruce has helped to form and finance numerous companies. He has guided many early stage companies through mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings. His intellectual property experience includes representing clients in transactions with some of the most well known names in technology. He has provided advice on intellectual property transactions with companies located in Asia and Europe. He graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School and summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh. He was a member of the George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Bruce studied at the University of Paris, La Sorbonne and the Institute for European and Asian studies in Paris, France.
Mike Cleaver is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, one of the top-ranked law schools in the United States. He is admitted to the North Carolina State Bar and the United States District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina. Mike has been a litigator and legal counsellor for corporations and individuals around the world. He has taught a U.S. media law seminar in the United Kingdom for ITV, Britain's largest commercial television broadcaster. He has performed production counsel work for countless other television and motion picture clients, most notably 20th Century Fox, in connection with its $200 million movie release, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," and Chicago Borough Films and director Gabriel Range, in connection with "Death of a President," the International Emmy Award-winning docudrama involving the fictional assassination of President George W. Bush. Mike also has drafted million dollar agreements and has represented major U.S. publishing companies in copyright infringement cases. While in law school, Mike was a member of the North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology, on which he served as both a staff writer and an editor. He also consistently placed on the Dean's List for academic achievement. Before attending law school, Mike received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications, also at the University of North Carolina, graduating with distinction. There he concentrated on Media Production and held an internship with a local entertainment production company. During this time Mike was exposed to many of the back office challenges a production company faces in shooting documentaries and independent films. He also gained experience as a set production assistant, rounding his understanding of the tasks involved in many of our clients' day-to-day work.
Priya Kumar, a Senior Vice President of SDD Global, is an outstanding attorney admitted to the State Bars of New York and Michigan. She has practiced law in the United States for nearly a decade, focusing on U.S. immigration services and commercial litigation. An excellent student and recipient of a tuition scholarship, Priya earned her Master of Laws degree from the University of Georgia, with concentrations in immigration law and international legal and business transactions. She earned her Bachelor of Laws degree, magna cum laude, from Bharathiyar University in Coimbatore, India. In addition to training and assisting in litigation matters, Priya is helping SDD Global become a global immigration services powerhouse that will revolutionize the handling of visa and other immigration applications, worldwide.
Kwarma Vanderpuye, a Senior Vice President and the General Counsel of SDD Global, brings extensive and well-known U.S. legal experience to the company. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Howard Law School. Prior to joining SDD Global, Ms Vanderpuye, a stellar trial lawyer, had been a partner for several years at prominent law firms, heading the litigation department at two of them. Ms. Vanderpuye was the first African-American partner at the New York defense firm of Jones Hirsch, where she won sixteen consecutive defense verdicts in high exposure complex litigation cases, which was a record number for the firm. In addition to her role as trial partner, Ms. Vanderpuye served as the firm's EEO compliance officer for several years. Following her tenure at Jones Hirsch, she joined the Cochran firm, New York, as a litigation partner at the invitation of the late Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Ms. Vanderpuye's career path into the world of legal services offshoring stemmed from her first-hand experience with the efficiency, global reach, and cost-cutting benefits of having a competent offshore team assist in trial preparation for a case pending in New York. Ms. Vanderpuye is admitted to practice in the State and Federal Courts of New York and Michigan, including the Sixth and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals. She is an active member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the International and American Bar Associations.
HEAD OF OUR LONDON OFFICE
Alex Hannell manages our London office, and The Business and Legal Affairs Group at SDD Global. In that capacity, he manages a wide array of business affairs & legal services for media companies. Before joining SDD Global, Alex distinguished himself in the international media and entertainment business, where he was Head of Commercial Affairs for Granada International, the worldwide arm of one of the U.K.'s largest companies, Granada Media Group (now ITV). Alex is also a veteran of one of the most preeminent London-based law firms, Herbert Smith LLP, and Australian niche intellectual property/technology firm Bonnins, where he was Solicitor in the Media & Intellectual Property Groups. From 2002 until joining us in 2008, Alex developed his own prestigious roster of film and television distribution clients, handling business affairs and related legal matters for such companies as Warner Brothers, So Television, Talkback Thames, Filmon and countless others. Alex's professional memberships have includedthe British Television Distributors Association and the Royal Television Society. He holds an honours degree in law and a degree in commerce with a finance major and was admitted to practice in the High Court of Australia in 1995. He has lectured at university on subjects such as Artists and the Law and Technology and the Law. His fields of expertise include negotiating and drafting all manner of transactions for the U.S., U.K. and international television and motion picture industry, handling all aspects of film and television distribution and financing, and managing international content acquisitions and licensing.
OUR INDIA-BASED MANAGEMENT
Vidya Devaiah, Managing Director of SDD Global, is a part of our senior legal outsourcing leadership team. With several years of education in the U.S., Vidya co-ordinates legal outsourcing projects for various clients with aplomb. Since joining SDD Global in 2007, Vidya has completed more than three years of intensive training in the U.S. and U.K. legal systems, with emphasis on areas such as intellectual property, state and federal litigation (including all types of motion practice, discovery matters, and trial preparation), and commercial transactions, all under the guidance of experienced American and U.K. lawyers. She also has completed the in-house business affairs course at our Media Business Affairs division. Vidya's extraordinary analytical abilities, training, and excellent written and spoken English skills allow her to expertly liaise with Western and other clients and produce top-tier results in matters such as sophisticated legal research, and drafting of legal memoranda, all types of litigation papers, and commercial contracts. In addition, Vidya handles trademark searches and registrations, company formation, and many other legal tasks. Vidya created the increasingly sought after Accumark Trademark/Title Search Report that SDD Global offers at a fraction of the cost of other more well-known search reports. Vidya also helps train employees to improve their English communication skills. Her leadership skills have been honed through her involvement with Mysore Ladies Circle 9 and other local charities. In addition to the legal work that she handles, Vidya shoulders most of SDD Global's administrative responsibilities, as part of her constant endeavor to see the company grow and flourish.
Ms. Padmavathi joined SDD Global as a Legal Research Manager in August, 2006, and today is, Director - Legal Services. Given her sheer dedication and enthusiasm, it is no surprise that Padmavathi has an impeccable academic record, having secured the second rank in law from the University of Mysore. Ms. Padmavathi was a superstar lecturer in law at the University of Mysore and its affiliate colleges for six years, before undergoing intensive training in U.S. legal research at SDD Global. Her other notable academic achievements include obtaining a postgraduate diploma in Intellectual Property Rights from top-ranked National Law School in Bangalore, and an LLM in International Law and Business & Trade Law from the University of Mysore. She has also completed a course in cyber laws from the Asian School of Cyber Laws, Pune. She has written and published research articles in such areas as trademark law and globalization. In 2009, Ms. Padmavathi traveled to the United States to assist U.S. attorney Russell Smith at depositions and a hearing in a high-profile libel case against our major media client Channel Four Television Corporation. The case ended in victory at both the trial court and at the appellate court in California. To her broad knowledge and excellent legal research skills, she also brings a passion for teaching, which has proved invaluable in the training and supervision of top-notch legal researchers at SDD Global. Now, with almost four years of intensive training and experience in legal research, legal analysis, drafting and media business affairs, she capably, efficiently and independently handles a variety of projects for U.S. and UK clients.
An avid nature lover and photographer, Padmavathi enjoys traveling, and of course spending quality time with her family.
Abhinav Chandan, Director - Commercial
Transaction Services, joined us soon after graduating from one of India's finest law schools - the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS). Prior to joining us, Abhinav gained practical experience in handling diverse legal issues in taxation, corporate, international trade, competition and securities laws, during his internships with some of the most prominent Indian law firms, including J. Sagar Associates, Nishith Desai Associates, and Economic Laws Practice. Additionally, while at law school, Abhinav also served as a part-time researcher, trainer and an assistant project manager for a U.S. based legal off-shoring company, compiling information on more than 35,000 U.S. federal and state cases. Given his experience and expertise in handling U.S. legal issues, joining SDD Global was a natural choice for Abhinav after completing his graduation.
Gifted with a sharp intellect, logical reasoning, and great research, writing and analytical skills, Abhinav has all of what it takes to be a successful lawyer. In a short span of six months, he grew to become a key member of the SDD Global team. With the advanced training he received here, Abhinav is a "pro" at handling all manner of U.S. and U.K. legal issues, including commercial contract drafting. In his own words, Abhinav admits: "Joining SDD Global is like a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to work here after I attended a presentation given by SDD Global during a part of the company's campus recruitment drive. SDD Global is perhaps the only legal off-shoring services provider with a strong focus on media and entertainment law, a subject towards which I have a great affinity. Working for Hollywood icons is the icing on the cake."
Abhinav is a tech freak who loves reading, writing and watching anything in the fantasy - fiction genre. He is also an exponent of oriental martial arts and is adept at playing the Tabla - a form of Indian percussion drums.