Bert Fields, celeb lawyer, terrorizes opponents

By A. James Memmott

January 31, 2008 at 3:04pm

You’re in trouble. You want a lawyer. And not just any lawyer. You want a scary lawyer.

Pick up the phone and call Bertram “Bert” Fields, who is known as “L.A.’s scariest lawyer.”

Fields, 78, has been representing entertainment celebs for more than 50 years.

Just the short list of his clients includes Edward G. Robinson, Jack Webb, The Beatles, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson, Elaine May, Michael Ovitz, Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg and Paramount Pictures.

Fields’s luster has been tarnished lately by his connection to Anthony Pellicano, the private investigator who goes on trial in federal court next month. However, the scary lawyer is still getting lots of work.

Recently, he’s been in the news as attorney for Tamara Mellon, the co-founder of the Jimmy Choo luxury shoe empire who is suing her mother, Ann Yeardye.

Fields also represented publisher Judith Regan, who recently reached and out-of-court settlement of her wrongful termination suit against HarperCollins and its parent company, News Corp.

The Regan suit pitted Fields against a former client, News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch. Typically, that association did not lead Fields to soften his rhetoric.

“They’ve chosen war and they will get exactly that,” he said in December after the suit was announced. “She (Regan) won’t take this lying down.”

This wasn’t the first time Fields compared litigation to war.

“If I were a general, I would attack, and keep pressing the attack — to throw the opponent off balance to change the odds and make a settlement your way much more favorable,” he told The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta in 2006. “…It forces the other side to think. ‘Hey, I may lose this case. Let’s settle it.’”

Fields grew up in Los Angeles, the son of a surgeon who included Mae West and Groucho Marx among his clients. Fields graduated from Harvard Law School in 1952. He taught briefly at Stanford Law School and then served in the Air Force as a lawyer. In 1955, he began practicing law in Los Angeles.

From the beginning, he fashioned a take-no-prisoners style.

“If he’s on the other side, he’s a nightmare,” one Fields client told Auletta. “He’s going to make your life miserable.”

At the same time, Fields told Auletta that he was careful to keep the volume down in the courtroom.

“A jury doesn’t want some guy shouting at them,” he said. “Even when you think the other side is a scumbag - it doesn’t win you points.”

A partner in the Los Angeles firm of Greenberg, Glusker was charging $900 an hour in 2006, according to Auletta.

In addition to his practice of law, Fields is the author of two non-fiction works on history and of two mysteries. Written under the pseudonym of “D. Kincaid,” the novels feature Harry Cain, a lawyer.

Fields and his firm had a long association with Pellicano, the private investigator who was charged in 2006 with wiretapping, racketeering, bribery and other charges.

Fields has said that he had no knowledge of Pellicano using illegal methods to obtain information during the course of his work for the firm.

Pellicano’s trial, in which he will represent himself, begins on Feb. 27.

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  • #1.   anon 02.04.2008

    I don’t find him scary at all.

  • #2.   Steve 03.21.2012

    Attorney Anthony Accetta took bert to school in Chow v Chow. Accetta destroyed mr fields to a 47-1 bert fields defeat!! It was amazing to watch Bert get intimidated by another lawyer! Time to retire wiretap!

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