If you’re a celebrity in Las Vegas who finds yourself in a spot of legal trouble, you’re going to want to know one name in particular: David Chesnoff. Chesnoff is a lawyer who has specialized in representing celebrities and high-profile clients whose fame can be a liability. From Bruno Mars to star athletes, Chesnoff is the one to call if you find yourself in need of legal representation in Sin City. How do celebrity lawyers become celebrities themselves, and what kind of person becomes the legal fixer to the stars?
Chesnoff’s name has appeared in articles alongside some of the greatest names in entertainment history. Although his personal life remains somewhat of a mystery, Chesnoff’s court victories are well known. The Paterson, New Jersey, native, was born on May 13, 1955, and attended both Alfred University and Suffolk University.
After business partner Oscar Goodman was elected Las Vegas mayor and left their joint practice in 2001, Chesnoff founded Chesnoff and Schonfeld which is now renowned as one of the country’s top criminal law firms. Richard A. Schonfeld and Robert Z. DeMarco are partners in the firm with Chesnoff.
Billboard’s writes, “This longtime protégé of former Las Vegas mayor and mob attorney Oscar Goodman is usually the first person that celebrities call when they encounter legal trouble in Sin City. Sources say his hourly rates are in the four figures.”
Clients From All Walks of Life
If you’re looking Chesnoff’s name up on the internet, you’re going to find some impressive clients. Chesnoff has defended huge names in sports and entertainment like Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Mike Tyson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Copperfield, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chumlee, Shaquille O’Neal, Martha Stewart, and Suge Knight.
More recently, Chesnoff’s name has appeared in corollary with the sad story of University of Nevada Las Vegas commit Zaon Collins. Per The Las Vegas Sun, “Heralded Bishop Gorman basketball player and UNLV commit Zaon Collins was booked on DUI and reckless driving counts after causing a crash that killed a motorist Wednesday afternoon in the southwest valley, according to Metro Police.
Police spotted a jar containing a ‘green leafy substance’ in Collins’ car and said he showed signs ‘consistent with being under the influence of marijuana,’ according to an arrest report.”
While it would appear the court is stacked against Collins for killing the innocent 52-year-old driver of the other car involved in the wreck, Chesnoff specializes in exactly these high-profile, long shot cases.
Against all odds, Chesnoff manages to defend clients who others would consider indefensible – celebrities whose behavior is public and almost irrefutable. Chesnoff’s impressive legacy involves tackling corruption on the district level and holding the court accountable to technicalities to free his clients.
Chesnoff’s Name is Both Famous and Infamous in Vegas
If you’re in the legal field and you hear Chesnoff’s name, you’re going to have one of two reactions: joy or dread. Either you’re on his side, or you’re in his way. Chesnoff’s success in establishing himself as the celebrity lawyer to the stars has created an interesting question: how do celebrity lawyers build a reputation, and why are they so good at what they do?
It appears to be a magic formula comprised of luck and genius. Per Billboard, “Chesnoff represented Bruno Mars after the ’24K Magic’ singer’s 2010 Hard Rock Hotel drug bust and got him a probationary plea deal. That same year, he sprung Paris Hilton when she was arrested for cocaine possession on the Strip. Janet Jackson also retained Chesoff as counsel during the investigation into Dr. Conrad Murray’s role in her brother Michael’s 2009 drug overdose death.” Once your reputation starts building, the clients seek you and the snowball effect takes over. But Chesnoff wouldn’t have such a good reputation to begin with if he wasn’t good at what he does. His celebrity cliens sure think he’s good; with 6-figure retainer fees, Chesnoff is not for those with shallow pockets.
Now that the Raiders are in Vegas, Chesnoff has a new crop of clients to defend. Professional football players are notorious for legal woes, and they certainly have the pockets necessary to hire Chesnoff. The star lawyer’s blunt approach to legal defense and cheeky personality likely ingratiate him to clients who are worried about all they have riding on impending cases. Is Chesnoff going to be the lawyer-to-have, opponent-to-envy of the legal world for the foreseeable future? All signs point to yes.