Dina established her own firm, LaPolt Law, P.C., in 2001 and has worked tirelessly to build an A-list roster of rock, hip-hop, heavy metal, pop and singer-songwriter clients. Because we have business overseas there are always emails from colleagues in Europe that need to be addressed in the morning because it is the end of their workday over there. Those days are over — people can’t take those liberties anymore. Once I get into the office I usually have to approve various agreements or deals that the other lawyers in my office are handling or we have to discuss various strategy on how to handle certain sticky situations. In addition, advances in technology and new social media tools are revolutionizing the way we consume, produce, distribute and discover music. Who do you rely upon in your business most, and what does he or she do for you that is so invaluable? I figured out that because all of my efforts were pro-bono, even though it was a hardship on me personally, and I spent over $200.000 of my own money over the past few years doing this.”, “We all have to work together, because it doesn’t matter if you’re YouTube or you’re Spotify or you’re the record companies, everybody values music. But she’s done all of those things and more — and continues to fight through the challenges that 2020 has brought. “In my last year of law school I interned for a lawyer named Deena Zacharin who’d always tell me that I needed to move to L.A. Facebook allows for the quick spread of important press or ticketing links. In a lively and honest talk with Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp, Dina LaPolt shares the behind the scenes of her instrumental role in the negotiations of the Music Modernization Act in the USA, and calls for the music industry to unite to protect the value of music and ensure creators’ fair remuneration. One of my bands had a showcase at a music business conference in San Francisco, and I went to a panel with three music lawyers: one looked like a linebacker, the other had long hair and the other had two earrings. LaPolt Law, P.C. I set up a joint venture with Interscope — Amaru Entertainment, after his middle name — and over the years we put out nine [posthumous] albums, three books, Afeni’s biography and a documentary called “Resurrection” that was nominated for an Academy Award. So LaPolt Law was founded in 2001, and the clients who came with me were the Tupac Estate, Wild Orchid — Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas was in that group — [singer] Andy Vargas and [comedian] Ed McMahon. My business plan was simple: develop my lawyering skills, keep my overhead low, and build my brand. If you had an extra $25,000 to spend on your business, what would you spend it on? They handle a lot of the day to day work that needs to be done in order to service the clients and keep all their needs met. So for every artist in the room: never compromise yourself and keep going!”. In 2015, she helped found the Songwriters of North America (SONA) and a year later orchestrated the filing of a lawsuit against the Dept. Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC. Dina LaPolt has been honored with numerous industry accolades including Billboard’s Power 100, Women in Music, and Music’s Most Powerful Attorneys; the Hollywood Reporter’s Top Music Business Attorneys; and Variety’s Legal Impact Report and Women’s Impact Report.
I worked all through Grammy Week and did not sleep, orchestrating getting him out of there.
“We are scrappy, we know how to move through a crisis, protect our clients and get sh– done.”.
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Once you allow someone to bully or walk on you it’s very hard to change that dynamic once established. Running my own business is creative and allows me to do a bunch of different things each day as opposed to just reading and negotiating contracts. I had an epiphany, because the only lawyer I’d ever met was Kiss’ attorney, this old guy in a bowtie. My work on the Music Modernization Act began when Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley and I started SONA in 2015 — the first thing we did was orchestrate filing a lawsuit against the DOJ in opposition to their 100% licensing rule. Early on I decided that I am my own best asset and I did not want to feel encumbered or have to incorporate someone else’s suggestions and ideas when I knew they were not good suggestions or ideas.
So that whole summer, from my backyard, I worked with those guys on what turned out to be the early stages of the MMA. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered like how the artist did in that market the last time they performed, how music sales have been that market, and what the current industry customs are. The elite music attorney is an expert at strategizing and solving complex legal and business issues, and is intimately involved in legislative advocacy, co-founding the Songwriters of North America (SONA) and helping spearhead the passage of the MMA. I didn’t make it to L.A. and decided to stay in the Bay Area. How are gay people going to change the laws if we can’t get into law school?” He agreed to let me in for a year and stay if I passed the “baby bar” exam, and that’s what happened.
But Variety’s 2020 Power of Law honoree has arguably made a bigger name for herself representing the songwriting community on Capitol Hill via her work on the pivotal 2018 Music Modernization Act, the first major copyright reform for music creators in decades, and for her role in obtaining the release of rapper 21 Savage, incarcerated by ICE in early 2019, after just nine days. There is an inherent understanding of each person’s role and contribution within the firm. © 2020 Ungerlaw, PC. The firm encourages all its members to step forward with new ideas so that the firm can stand out among the rest. Did Steven Tyler? She is also one of the few executives you’ll ever hear unpack the intricacies of copyright law and intellectual property in thick New Yawk-ese with a heaping dollop of f-bombs. That September, I was speaking at a conference in Washington and looked at my phone and I had six missed calls and all these text messages: “Doug’s pulling the plug on the bill, the [Digital Media Association] is f—ed up.” We had been waiting for comments from DiMA on the draft of the bill, and while I was speaking on the panel, they had changed everything on the bill that had been agreed on. He walked me to my car and said, “The fact that you don’t know better jeopardizes my relationship with you.” They have a saying in 12 Step that you have a spiritual awakening, and that was the one: April 18, 1998. I called Doug and said, “Before we pull the plug, let’s just get everybody in a room.” He said, “How are we gonna do that?” “You’re a Congressman, compel them to come!” And sure enough, the next morning, people had flown in from New York and Nashville, and we all got into a room — David, Bart, ASCAP, BMI, people from Spotify and Amazon and their lobbyists — and put everything back together again. Did you have a business plan when you started your business, and, if so, how much did you vary from it? Dina LaPolt is one of the music industry’s leading attorneys — and she is almost indisputably the loudest. My ex-girlfriend’s sister, Carrie Stevens, was dating the drummer in Kiss at the time, Eric Carr, and I started working for him as a part-time assistant and tour manager for all-female thrash bands that he managed on the side. I didn’t want to, but one day she said, “You’re fired — and you’re moving to L.A.” I had just passed the bar — God knows how — and got a call from Carrie, “Hey, are you an entertainment lawyer yet?” “Yes, as of two days ago.” “I’m Playboy’s Miss June, come to L.A. and live with me,” and in matter of days I was living in Sherman Oaks with Miss June 1997. of Justice. 10003-1502 US.
And because I was free, I had a lot of influence on the politicians so they would always say “Get Dina on the phone and check that, see if someone’s telling the truth”, because they all knew that I was free. What advice would you offer to a first-time entrepreneur? Veteran music attorney Dina LaPolt discusses advocating for songwriters’ rights and working on historic Music Modernization Act.
If anything is going to change the world, it’s music!