The gig: John Rogovin, 52, is executive vice president and general counsel for
Beltway insider: Born and raised in Washington, Rogovin was a Capitol Hill insider before he could crawl. His father, Mitchell Rogovin, was chief counsel at the Internal Revenue Service in President Johnson's administration and special counsel to the
Cool neighbors: With a hotshot lawyer for a father and neighbors such as investigative journalists Seymour Hersh and Neil Sheehan (whom Mitchell Rogovin represented when the government went after him for his
Chip off the old block: After graduating from
Go your own way: With law degree in hand, Rogovin returned to Washington with thoughts of joining his father in private practice. But his father had other ideas. "He told me, 'If you are any good you can do better and if you are no good, I don't need you.' That was sort of a formative moment."
Friend of Bill: Rogovin landed at the high-powered law firm of O'Melveny & Myers in the early 1990s. A co-worker's boyfriend was working for
Halls of Justice: The night before the inauguration, Rogovin got a call from Clinton advisor Harold Ickes wanting to know if he had any interest in working at the Justice Department. He jumped at the chance and eventually became head of the department's Federal Programs Branch, which is basically charged with defending the government against constitutional challenges to federal statutes. Among the highlights: defending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay service members and
Revolving door: The next few years Rogovin did the Washington dance between private practice and public service. He left the Justice Department to go back to O'Melveny, where he worked closely with GTE Corp. on the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and then became general counsel of the
An offer he couldn't refuse: Although Rogovin was quite content working the corridors of power, when Warner Bros. approached him about becoming its general counsel, he jumped at the opportunity. "It was like joining the New York Yankees," he said. The job appealed to him both professionally — "the legal issues facing the content community are the most novel, interesting and exciting" — and personally — "it was a great adventure for us as a family."
Learning curve: Working at a Hollywood studio was a big adjustment. "You know you are in an unusual environment when to find out what's the latest you click on TMZ," he said. But Rogovin caught on fast. His biggest triumphs include beating back a challenge to Warner Bros.' rights to the Superman character and negotiating a peace treaty with
Off the lot: When he's not sorting through contracts and lawsuits, Rogovin still plays tennis a few times a week. He's also trying his hand at being a chef but warns, "No one would like to eat my cooking." He resides in Bel-Air with his wife, Jaye, and two daughters.