MUSIC'S HOTTEST LAW FIRMS: GRUBMAN SHIRE MEISELAS & SACKS, P.C.

This past year was monumental for Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks as co-founder Allen Grubman became the first practicing lawyer to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The firm’s partners all went to L.A. to see Grubman accept this well-deserved honor.

In the first full year of touring’s post-pandemic return, the firm represented some of the biggest tours in the biz, including stadium runs for The Weeknd, Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen; arena tours for Madonna, Chris Brown, Lizzo and Nas; and hugely successful tours for Lil Wayne, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Nav, the critically acclaimed Vegas residency for Usher and the highly anticipated debut headlining treks for Lil Nas X and Zach Bryan, among others. The firm also closed several of the largest catalog sales in history last year for iconic artists Springsteen, Paul Simon, Sting and the Estate of David Bowie, as well as catalog deals for Sarah McLachlan and Jhené Aiko.

One of the firm’s great strengths is how the three main departments—music, film/TV and corporate—work together. Music clients continue to expand in film and TV, with The Weeknd producing and starring in the highly anticipated HBO series The Idol; Lizzo extending her first-look deal with Amazon and winning an Emmy for her first show under that deal, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls; and Lady Gaga starring as Harley Quinn in Warner Bros.’ forthcoming Joker sequel.

The firm’s non-recording artist clients continued to expand their footprints and achieve even higher levels of success. LeBron James entered into multiple new endorsement deals while the firm also started representing LeBron’s talented sons, Bronny and Bryce, as NIL-endorsement deals exploded for high school and college athletes. Robert De Niro signed on to do his first television series, Zero Day (Netflix), and Ana de Armas’ star continues to ascend, while legendary theater composer Andrew Lloyd Weber launched a new Broadway show, Bad Cinderella.

The firm’s other named partners—Kenny Meiselas (head of music), Larry Shire (head of film/TV/sports) and Eric Sacks (head of corporate)—each run their own groups, but in a manner that provides seamless integration when meeting the multiplatform and entrepreneurial needs of their clients, providing them with unmatched representation across all aspects of their careers.

Grubman continues to work with all the departments in negotiating deals for the firm’s superstar clients, including Springsteen (with music partner Don Friedman), U2 (with music partners Joe Brenner and David Toraya), Madonna (with music counsel Michael Goldsmith, who also heads the firm’s touring department), Sting (with Brenner), Bette Midler, Elton John and more, as well as corporate clients Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Live Nation, iHeartMedia and Spotify. Grubman works with Sacks on employment agreements for and provides counsel to many of the top CEOs in music and media. He was heavily involved in each of the iconic catalog sales, with the transactions captained by Stuart Prager, head of the music-publishing department, with assistance from veteran music partners Brenner and Friedman, corporate partner Branch Furtado and music associate Brooke Schachner.

Meiselas reps superstars like The Weeknd (with partner Joe Penachio), Lady Gaga (with counsel Sony Guardo), Sean “Diddy” Combs, Usher (both with partner Pam Gurley), Lizzo (with partner Grace Kim), Lil Wayne, Jhené Aiko, Nas (all with partner Ted Harris) and Chris Brown (with partner Matt Kamen, who also represents A Boogie Wit da Hoodie and model Winnie Harlow).

Partner David Jacobs reps next-gen talent including Lil Nas X, Zach Bryan, Kali Uchis and Nigo, along with the hitmaking producer team Take a Daytrip and boxer Gervonta “Tank” Davis. Grace Kim discovered and represents Lizzo, along with Meiselas, while also assisting him with rising stars Gayle and Nessa Barrett.

Meiselas and partners are assisted by a team of respected associates—including Ilana Shapiro, Diana Kovacs, Evan Levane, Mica Rollock, Schachner and Nick DeLisa—who collaborate with other departments to negotiate deals across film/TV, theater and corporate matters.

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Film/TV department partner Peter Grant reps de Armas and worked on Gaga’s Joker sequel deal, and partner Jonathan Ehrlich and associate Daniela Cassorla collaborated on The Weeknd’s The Idol pact, while Meiselas and film/TV partner Karen Gottlieb represented Jessica Simpson in her dealings with Amazon. Similarly, film/TV partner Robert Strent (whose clients include New York Magazine and actress/entrepreneur Shay Mitchell) worked with Kim and Meiselas on Lizzo’s agreement with Amazon as well as docuseries and concert-film deals with HBO. On the corporate side, associate Jona Lundborg assists Meiselas with the transactional work for The Weeknd, while Sacks and associate Kyle Zimmerman work with Meiselas on all the corporate dealings for Diddy.

Shire’s diverse client base includes LeBron James, Spike Lee, David Letterman, the New England Patriots, J Balvin, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert De Niro, as well as dynamic figures like Martha Stewart, CNN CEO Chris Licht, Gayle King, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Diane Sawyer and the estates of David Bowie and David Byrne. He also works with partners Jonathan Lonner, Adam Rosen and Gil Karson on theater projects, and they have been at the center of some of Broadway’s biggest recent productions, including To Kill a Mockingbird and Webber’s Bad Cinderella and The Music Man. They also represented UMG in connection with a new musical based on the life of Frank Sinatra, and Elton John on his musicals Tammy Faye and The Devil Wears Prada.

Ehrlich and partner Eric Zohn are responsible for handling the firm’s biggest book-publishing deals, including those for Springsteen, Bono, Lizzo and Priyanka Chopra.

In addition, partner Jonathan Birkhahn works with Shire and the corporate department on crossover projects, including various joint ventures for iHeartMedia. Shire’s group also does a significant amount of pro-bono work for his clients. They represent the LeBron James Family Foundation in educating and enriching the lives of underprivileged schoolchildren in Akron, Ohio, and The Earl Monroe New Renaissance School in the Bronx.

The firm also reps top sports executives including New York Knicks President Leon Rose and CAA Sports co-heads Michael Levine and Howie Nuchow, along with Brenner and Sacks’ joint representation of fantasy-sports guru Matthew Berry.

Gottlieb oversees film/TV projects and podcasts for corporate clients, with assistance from the film/TV department’s set of next-gen lawyers, including Cassorla, Matza, Sharma and Samantha Sheft and associate Jack Liechtung.

Stuart Fried leads the licensing department alongside associate Julia Reeves Blumenthal. Recent examples include Lizzo’s new shapewear joint venture with Fabletics and the launch of Bethenny Frankel’s Forever Young wine. Among the licensing department’s music partnerships are liquor-brand incubator Global Brand Equities and its wine venture with Post Malone and Mariah Carey’s Black Irish liqueur line.

In other recent activity, emerging pop-rock star Nessa Barrett, signed to Warner Records, just completed her first North American tour, playing three sold-out shows in both N.Y. and L.A. in front of 7,500+ fans. Gayle, hand-picked by Taylor Swift to open up for her on The Eras Tour, had a top 5 hit with “ABCDEFU,” which was nominated for a 2023 Grammy for Song of the Year. Ethan Bortnick (Columbia) and Madison Beer (Epic) are other bright young talents repped by the firm.

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