James M. O'Brien III
Contact Information

301 Fayetteville Street
Suite 1900
Raleigh, NC 27601

t: 919.783.2872
f: 919.783.1075


University of California at Berkeley, JD, 1992

University of North Carolina, BA, 1988

Professional and Community Activities

Member, North Carolina Film Council

Director, Cucalorus Film Festival

North Carolina Bar Association

Chairman, Music and Film Committee, North Carolina Bar Association Sports and Entertainment Law Section

Notable Accomplishments

Ranked among Super Lawyers magazine’s North Carolina “Super Lawyers,” (Mergers & Acquisitions, Business/Corporate) 2006-2014, (Entertainment) 2006-2015, (Sports) 2015
Ranked among Business Leader Media’s 2008 Triangle Movers & Shakers
Featured in “Lawyer Expresses His Love of the Arts by Serving the Film Industry” published in the June 2007 issue of NC Magazine

Jurisdictions Licensed

North Carolina

California (inactive)


Jim’s practice spans two distinct but related practice areas: Business law and entertainment law. He is a corporate deal lawyer who represents many established and emerging growth companies in mergers and acquisitions and other transactions. Jim also works with clients in all aspects of the entertainment industry (film, music, and television), including film financing, film fund formation, NASCAR, co-production deals, production issues, exclusive recording agreements, and distribution. Jim’s motion picture credits include “Moving Midway,” “Cold Storage,” “Bar Starz,” “Three Days in Vegas,” “The List,” “A Dance for Bethany,” and “Night Feeders.”

Representative Experience

  • Serves as lead counsel to buyers, sellers, investors and lenders in various mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, including triangular mergers, leveraged buyouts, asset purchases and sales, stock purchases and sales, and capital restructurings ranging in purchase price from less than a million dollars to several billion dollars
  • Serves as counsel to film, television, music and other entertainment companies, and represents directors, producers, studios, on-screen talent, bands and musicians; currently serving as production counsel on a number of feature-length motion pictures
  • Serves as outside general counsel to many established and emerging growth companies in various industries (including entertainment, manufacturing, retail, technology, internet, textiles and garments, architecture, chemicals, health care, e-commerce, publishing, and telecommunications), advising on general corporate and contract matters, entity selection and formation, shareholders’ agreements, angel investment, venture capital investment, strategic alliances, and protection of confidential information, trade secrets and intellectual property
  • Works with executives in structuring employment relationships and compensation arrangements (including cash and non-cash incentive compensation) with companies in various industries, including manufacturing, bio-technology, information technology, e-commerce and services.
  • He also has significant experience in capital-raising transactions, representing both issuers and investors, including venture capitalists, venture-debt participants and other private and institutional investors.
  • EUE / Screen Gems LTD
  • Trailblazer Studios
  • Torchmedia
  • Studio ELM
  • Spark Productions
  • Relativity
  • North Carolina FC
  • North Carolina Courage
  • Mindcrack
  • The Hive
  • Level Path Productions
  • Centerline Digital
  • Baby Makes 3


We pride ourselves on developing lasting relationships with our clients. We have been working with some of our clients since their formation, and others for over 10 years. Drawing on more than 40 years of combined experience in diverse practice areas, as well as the knowledge of other attorneys within our firm, we have the unique ability to provide our clients with a full range of legal counsel that extends beyond the field, studio, or stage.