What do Sean Penn, Winona Ryder, Steven Spielberg, Eddie Vedder, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have in common? Boston College Law School’s Mathew Rosengart ’87, a Greenberg Traurig attorney whom Penn describes as a “tough as nails streetfighter with a big brain and bigger principles.”
In July, that “big brain” added another A-list client, Britney Spears, to his roster. The pop star selected Rosengart to replace the court-appointed lawyer who had represented her since 2008, when a conservatorship was established to govern her financial and personal life.
Back in the 1980s, Boston College Law School Professor Mark Brodin made an astute selection of his own, observing that Rosengart was a student with great potential. Brodin is pleased to confirm that his instincts were correct, saying of Rosengart today, “He’s exceeded my expectations.”
This month, Rosengart was hired to help Spears end her conservatorship, which Spears contends has become “an oppressive and controlling tool against her.”
The first step toward that goal is removing her father, James P. Spears, from his position of authority over her as a co-conservator. The Los Angeles Times reported on Rosengart’s intentions July 19, when he spoke outside L.A.’s Stanley Mosk Courthouse. “My firm and I are moving aggressively and expeditiously to file a petition to remove Jamie Spears unless he resigns first,” he said. That effort became official in a filing on July 26. Rosengart has also informed the court that that he is likely to file paperwork to terminate the conservatorship altogether.
Rosengart is well-versed in the ways of the entertainment industry, having won numerous legal battles involving movie, music, and sports luminaries. Among his victories are a $14 million trial verdict for hedge fund Sandton Capital against Gold Circle Films (Pitch Perfect, My Big Fat Wedding), a defamation lawsuit for Sean Penn, and a $6 million “cutting rights” case for Academy Award winner Lonergan over his film Margaret starring Matt Damon.
After graduating from BC Law, Rosengart clerked for Justice David Souter on the New Hampshire Supreme Court and was a Supervisory Assistant US Attorney and Justice Department Trial Attorney.
His last boss at the Justice Department, Criminal Division, and now federal US District Judge Robert J. Conrad, described Rosengart’s character and work ethic, as exemplified in his final case at the DOJ. “Matt Rosengart is one of the sharpest lawyers I’ve ever met at the Department of Justice. During our tenure there on AG Janet Reno’s Campaign Financing Task Force, he helped secure a felony conviction and the largest campaign finance fine ever,” Conrad said, referring to US v. James Riady. “His judgment is impeccable.”
Rosengart’s name is frequently included in top lawyer lists, including those compiled by the Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Recently, he was recognized as a Leader of Influence and Top Litigator & Trial Attorney by the Los Angeles Business Journal, which honors “masters of their craft” who “go to the proverbial mat to fight for their clients” and are “the lawyers you want in your corner.” Rosengart has been with Greenberg Traurig since 2011.
Photograph by Dennis Trantham
Read this case update in the New York Times.