David Manella – Associate in the Firm’s Entertainment, Media & Technology Practice
David Manella is an associate in the firm’s Entertainment, Media & Technology Practice. He’s at the forefront of major deals that are shaping this sector of the entertainment and media industries, with a particular focus on film/TV productions, digital media platforms and immersive live events.
He also runs a successful talent agency and serves as production counsel to live stage and TV productions. For his efforts, he has been recognized with numerous accolades.
Early Life and Education
David Manella was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and graduated from Manual Arts High School with a scholarship to USC where he earned a degree in law. Later, he went on to receive his master’s in tax law from Harvard University.
On his return to Los Angeles, he joined Eugene Berger and Laurence Irell at a small law firm. Together they built Irell & Manella into one of the city’s largest law firms. Over time, he gained notoriety as an esteemed tax lawyer representing high-profile clients from entertainment, technology and other sectors. Furthermore, as part of his many accomplishments he also founded the Irell & Manella Foundation in 2004 to support socially responsible and charitable causes.
David Manella, a longtime tax attorney, has assisted celebrities such as Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster with their tax issues. Additionally, he handled the tax matters for major entertainment corporations like Columbia, Paramount and Mattel.
He was the co-founder of Irell & Manella, which became one of Los Angeles’ largest and most profitable law firms. Additionally, he helped found the University of Southern California Tax Institute which holds an annual scholarly conference on tax law topics. A prolific writer and lecturer on tax law matters, he served as member of both USC School of Law’s Board of Visitors as well as an adjunct professor at UCLA before succumbing to cancer in Studio City on October 30, 2013. We mourn his loss to our entertainment industry friends.
Achievement and Honors
David Manella, a lawyer by profession, has achieved many remarkable things throughout his career. He was named to The Best Lawyers in America multiple times and earned honorable mention as one of Southern California’s Top 50 Super Lawyers. Beyond his legal acumen, David also makes a lasting impact on the community through volunteerism.
In an inspiring act of collaboration, David Irell partnered with Columbia University Law School to establish the Irell & Manella Prize, a first-year award honoring three illustrious Irell attorneys’ shared heritage. Not only was his legal expertise recognized, but more significantly, david was willing to share his insights and experience with students at Columbia. Despite his hectic schedule, david remains positive and inspiring others through example.
David Manella is an expert in entertainment law and has spearheaded some of the largest deals in this sector. With his thorough understanding of the industry and relentless drive to succeed, David makes for a great partner to work with.
In the 1940s and 1950s, he represented celebrities like Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor as well as Hollywood studios Columbia and Paramount. Many of his clients had complex tax problems which he helped them solve. Furthermore, he founded USC Tax Institute which holds an annual scholarly conference on tax law topics.
Harvard-trained in math and statistics, Mannella began his professional journey as an actuarial trainee for Occidental Life Insurance before embarking on his own entrepreneurial ventures.
Background: Michael has invested in energy companies; his portfolio includes El Paso Corp., Zilkha Renewable Energy and El Paso Oil Co. with son Michael as its president and owner.
Net worth has declined about 50 percent compared to last year, yet he still owns more than $1 billion. Additionally, he donates to hospitals, holocaust museums and schools as part of his charitable activities.
American International Group stock, down 20 percent from last year. Philanthropic contributions include $40 million to Simon Wiesenthal Center for a museum of tolerance in Israel.