John Moustis is Vice President of Sponsor Coverage for CBIZ Private Equity Advisory, the 10th largest financial services firm in North America. John and the CBIZ team support middle-market, private equity backed companies undergoing transitions and transactions with the overall mission to provide leadership, enhance visibility, and improve finance operations.
John is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and previously worked at Chicago-based firms Liston & Tsantilis, and Parillo Weiss before transitioning into his current role. He currently practices law on the side as a solo practitioner assisting with intellectual property, real estate, family and corporate law matters, as well as LCA clients. Since 2018, John has also coached high school students during the Chicago Coalition for Law-Related Education’s annual high school mock trial competition. John graduated with a J.D. and a B.A. with Honors in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Q: How did you learn about Lawyers for the Creative Arts and what led you to apply to join the Associate Board?
A: During my 3L year, my copyright professor was mentoring me on how to break into the entertainment law practice in Chicago. He recommended that I reach out to a few practitioners in Chicago. Through a series of connections with attorneys, I met Jeff Becker. Jeff told me all about entertainment law. Of course, he mentioned LCA and the opportunities the organization provided to connect with artists, as well as contribute to the continuation of their work through legal practice. After our meeting, I immediately applied to be on the LCA Associate Board. I maintained my membership until 2019 and I just rejoined the Associate Board in November of 2020.
What’s your favorite LCA memory?
My favorite LCA memory is attending my first Shindy at Chop House in Wicker Park. I remember how much fun I had and what a success the event was. I met interesting legal practitioners. The band was phenomenal. The sponsored prizes were unbelievably generous. The Shindy was so much more exciting than any other event put on by a professional organization that I had been to before.
What types of LCA matters have you taken on?
Most recently, I worked with multiple independent songwriters to determine whether music publishers and rights management firms held legitimate copyright infringement claims against them for sound recordings hosted and streamed on Spotify.
What has it been like working with our clients? How does it differ from your job at your firm?
I currently practice law on the side as a solo practitioner. My day job is to provide business development for a large financial services firm. We mainly work with private equity investors. So, the clients couldn’t be any different (wealthy finance professionals vs. local artists), which makes the LCA work a welcome change and that much more fulfilling. Working with LCA clients has been extremely fun, interesting and rewarding. In my experience, the clients are easygoing, responsive, grateful, and often have interesting stories and art to share.
What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Even if the matter is not directly on point with a case you have handled in the past, but you are interested in helping a particular client (or any client), JUST DO IT. A majority of the matters (at least in my experience) are limited in scope and can be completed with only a small time commitment (5 hours or less). Even more importantly, the LCA clients are typically not able to afford the services LCA volunteer attorneys provide, and they are extremely grateful for your time and service. It is a good feeling knowing you are helping someone who is truly in need.
Do you have any personal background in the arts?
I grew up playing the trumpet and guitar, and singing. I am currently in a pop-punk rock cover band (https://www.breadmachinemusic.com/).
Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
I’m not as connected in the local arts scene in Chicago as I would like to be. I try to get out to concerts as much as possible, but it’s usually for larger, national acts. Although I have attended Sofar Sounds shows which have been a great way to see local bands and acts. I hope to get more involved in the arts, either through the LCA or other local channels.
How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
The success of the arts community, in any city, is dependent upon the ability of its members to continue to create. If artists are worried or bogged down by legal issues - whether it is related to their art, their business, or more basic needs like where they are going to live - then they will not produce as much, as well, or at all. Many LCA clients would lose momentum, put their work on hold, neglect opportunities, or potentially quit, were it not for the services that LCA provides. LCA provides fundamental support to its clients to allow them to continue creating and contributing.
Which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend?
I recently finished Raised by Wolves (HBO Max) and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix). I also just finished reading Genius Foods by Max Lugavere and I'm listening to "Hard Work" by Theo Katzman.
What's a fun fact about you?
I was a cast member on an MTV reality TV show entitled “Are You The One?”. Season 2, my season, originally aired in the fall of 2016, but is available on Netflix starting December 1st!
Thank you to John for taking the time to answer our questions! Follow us on social media for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.