Senior BBC in-house lawyer joins city firm

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Senior BBC in-house lawyer Philip Wheeler has joined the Londonderry based international media and entertainment law firm SmithDehn LLP.

SmithDehn recently took the innovative step of launching a new operations base in Londonderry.

The law firm has a client roster that includes Sacha Baron Cohen, HBO, Paramount Pictures, Channel 4, 20th Century Fox and over 300 other media companies and high-profile individuals.

Announcing the new appointment on Monday, the company said it amounted to a further expansion of its UK operations.

Mr Wheeler said: “I’m eager to increase my direct involvement with filmmakers, production companies and content developers and provide them with the benefit of the wide range of experience I’ve gained over the years.

“SmithDehn LLP, as the most innovative and rising leader in the field, is the perfect match for my continuing legal career.

“I am also looking forward to further training and fully utilising SmithDehn’s amazing teams in Derry/Londonderry and throughout the world.”

SmithDehn LLP senior partner Russell Smith added: “The addition of Philip Wheeler to our team is a perfect match. He combines vast experience and skill with a strong ‘can-do’ attitude and motivation to help clients. Film and television companies in both the US and the UK have been waiting for the chance to hire us for UK content/compliance assistance. Finally they can.”

SmithDehn has facilitated the production and distribution of such diverse and highly-praised projects as Searching for Sugar Man, CitizenFour, Virunga, Borat, The Imposter, Dirty Wars, Project NIM, and the Ali G show.

This year, two of SmithDehn’s clients have been nominated for Academy Awards, and four other SmithDehn clients recently premiered their films at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Mr Wheeler has served as pre-publication adviser for BBC Northern Ireland, including its multi-award winning TV current affairs strand, ‘Spotlight.’ His media law career has spanned 20 years.