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Rosengart Wins Freedom for Britney

In less than three months, Mathew Rosengart ’87 ends pop star's 13-year ordeal.

Photograph by Dennis Trantham

Last summer, when Britney Spears was granted the right to hire her own attorney for the first time in her life, she chose Boston College Law School’s Mathew Rosengart ’87. It proved to be an astute choice for a pop star who in 2008 had been deemed unable to make sound decisions and was placed under an oppressive conservatorship.

All that changed on November 12 in a Los Angeles courtroom when Rosengart won Spears’s  release from the yolk that had restrained her for nearly 14 years.

Judge Brenda Penny’s ruling also put to rest the possibility that Spears would have to undergo psychological assessments usually required in such cases. Spears was 26 when she was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment following several incidents of erratic behavior. Her father, Jamie Spears, filed for conservatorship, citing concerns for her mental health.

Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor and a partner at Greenberg Traurig, began his fight for Spears’s freedom by calling for a thorough re-evaluation of the conservatorship, which included a push to remove Spears’s father as estate conservator, according to the New York Times. Shortly after the court ordered Jamie Spears’s suspension, he acted to end the conservatorship altogether. In a series of subsequent moves set in motion by Rosengart, unresolved issues around the finances, management, and various parties (including Jamie Spears) in the conservatorship remain under legal review.

When Spears’s struggle with her guardianship—which essentially stripped her of all personal, professional, and financial decision-making—became widely public at a court hearing last June, it set off alarms among her fans and others. A national conversation began about the potential for abuse in such arrangements. Conservatorship is most commonly granted to safeguard the elderly or people suffering from emotional disturbances, mental disorders, or physical impairments.

At least in Spears’s case, that concern is now largely behind her.

Outside the courthouse after Friday’s hearing, the Times reported that Rosengart was asked if the pop star would ever perform again, to which he replied, “It’s up to her.”

Read more on the case in BC Law Magazine,