Women In Music 2016: Power of Attorneys

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,Breach of contract,Women in music,Sonia Sotomayor,Precedent,Lawyer

From left: Young, Lepera, Berliner, White, Edell Howard, LaPolt and Soriano photographed on Nov. 15 at E.P. & L.P. in Los Angeles. The seven attorneys featured in Billboard's Women in Music 2016 are among the top female dealmakers and litigators working at firms outside the label system. And their skills extend far beyond simply interpreting and arguing the law: they are champions of songwriter rights, defenders of multi-platinum hitmakers and protectors of the massive touring productions that crisscross the globe. CHRISTINE LEPERA, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP New York-based Lepera owes much of her workload in 2016 to Dr. Luke, whom she represents in his contentious legal fight with Kesha (several claims against him were dismissed this year by the courts; she’s still pursuing his defamation and breach of contract claims against the artist), but the veteran attorney, who cites Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her non-musical female hero, is happy to be in the game, win or lose -- but mostly win. "When I was an associate working on an Andrew Lloyd Weber lawsuit, I called this lawyer to ask for an extension and he bullied me and said ‘We’re real trial lawyers’ in a demeaning way," says Lepera when asked to recall a "man-splaining moment." She won, by the way. About Last Year: Won a dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit on behalf of Jessie J in the 9th Circuit, which sets precedent for what constitutes access to music in the social media age; Currently waiting on a decision in a matter for Drake in a case where he sampled spoken word from a 1982 jazz track. Big Case: “It’s not a man, woman issue -- It’s about human beings," says Lepera of the Dr. Luke case. "When there’s an accuser and an accused, just because somebody says it doesn’t make it true. People’s reputations are very important to them. If you’re not guilty of something you’re accused of, the natural response is to fight.” Word to the Future: "Be your own person and trust in your own skills and abilities." LAURIE SORIANO, King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP Longtime clients Carole King and Aimee Mann along with new addition Carly Simon count on Soriano as an indie go-to for artists seeking more control over their output and public interface. But it was Frank Ocean that thrust her into the spotlight by releasing two albums in one weekend, a feat of legal maneuvering on which Soriano is reluctant to specifically comment, citing attorney-client privilege. About Last Year: Handled new releases by Travis Scott and Kanye West; Issued 35-year copyright terminations for clients Harry Shearer and Carole King; Represented chart-toppers Twenty One Pilots, who, Soriano says, “Built their success the old-fashioned way, by building an audience locally in Cleveland and then playing consistently everywhere throughout the U.S. and then the world.” Big Case: “Frank Ocean has been able to write the script for the roll-out of Blonde … and he hasn’t yet released the music in various formats. It has been a challenge and a pleasure to work with a client like Frank who is brilliant both creatively and in his business and to help him realize his vision for himself and his work.”...

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