Linda S. Mensch
The entire Lawyers for the Creative Arts family mourns the shocking death of Linda S. Mensch, former LCA Board President, LCA Board member for nearly 40 years, and one of the first recipients of our coveted Thomas R. Leavens Award for service to LCA.
In many ways Linda embodied the ethos of LCA. Her clients were among the biggest names in arts and sports endeavors. Children’s music composer and singer Ella Jenkins, author Maya Angelou, basketball-turned music great Wayland Tisdale, and Chicago Blues star Bob Love were among her marquee clients. Equally, Linda devoted her talents to start-up artists and those from harsh backgrounds who needed her welcoming touch. Her passion for nurturing and encouraging new (not just young) artists to pursue their artistic dreams was legendary.
When Linda came to Chicago in the late 70’s, LCA was in its infancy, and there were few lawyers – and even fewer women lawyers -- in the field of entertainment law here. Linda met these challenges with her unique style, energy, practical smarts, and especially humanity. Linda’s former law partner Thomas R. Leavens, founder of the entertainment law firm Leavens Strand & Glover, stated: “One of the benefits of Linda’s long service with LCA (and NARAS and numerous other organizations) is the great number of people who have witnessed and been inspired by her spirit and dedication.”
When we at LCA notified our present and past Board members of Linda’s tragic death, they responded with a flow of very personal remembrances of Linda, and we’ve collected them below. You'll recognize the shared themes in these comments from people who knew Linda well. They speak eloquently of personal friendships, collaborations among colleagues, an overwhelming passion for the arts and for artists, and a life-long determination to help creative people meet the challenges they face.
We extend our deepest condolences to Linda’s family. They will be setting a memorial service in October, and we will circulate the details when we have them.
Comments from LCA Board Members
On Learning of Linda’s Passing
Carol Anne Been
I enjoyed Linda’s friendly and open personality, as she found humor in so many ways. She generously offered her help and support as a former LCA Board President when I assumed the role. She was smart, knew everyone and was respected by all, and always left others smiling. I was among the many people who respected and admired Linda’s practice and her longtime commitment to LCA.
I am so sad to hear this news. Linda was an enormously talented woman and all-around good person. No surname is more befitting its owner than Linda's was to her - she was a true mensch.
Feel so bad and so very sorry for her Family. Wonderful woman.
This is so very sad. Linda was instrumental in welcoming me into LCA, and I saw first hand her generosity, energy, love for the arts, and desire to help others. A tremendous loss. May her memory be a blessing.
Very sad and a tremendous loss to the arts community. Linda still had much to give to the world and LCA. I will miss her.
Thomas R. Leavens
I first met Linda in 1976 when she visited me at the LCA offices. She was graduating from NYU School of Law, was moving to Chicago, and wanted to know where the entertainment law job opportunities were. We talked for a long time, and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship of many decades. Linda was the very embodiment of service, and one of the benefits of her long service with LCA (and NARAS and numerous other organizations) is the great number of people who have witnessed and been inspired by her spirit and dedication. And she was fierce in her defense of her artist clients but in the end fair and pragmatic. It was a privilege and delight to be her partner after our years of friendship, and I am stunned by her loss in such a wrong and unexpected way. I know we all wish Michael and Jessica much strength in this painful time.
So sad to hear the terrible news.
Mary Hutchings Reed
Like all of you, I am in shock. We were friends for 40 + years. I was inspired by her independent and creative spirit and her dedication to the arts.
Thanks for letting us know, Jan. Linda was a friend for over 30 years, and was always available to answer a question or provide an insight. This is heartbreaking. Best, Mike
This is just awful and sad news. Even when we hardly knew each other, Linda would greet me with a warm smile and a warm welcome. And that continued through our long years of friendship and working together at LCA. To me, she was part of the spirit and culture and beauty of the LCA organization, which makes the loss even greater. May her memory be a blessing and a comfort to her family and her many friends.
I am reeling. I cannot believe it.
I'm speechless. How tragic. Linda was literally an inspiration for me. What a loss...
Like the rest of the LCA Board, I am stunned and deeply saddened by Linda’s tragic death. Linda hired me as a law clerk the summer after my first year of law school and I worked for her for more than two years. Linda was an incredible mentor to me and my time with her ultimately shaped my whole career. (She also introduced me to LCA and graciously took me along to LCA benefit luncheons at the Palmer House while I was still a student; getting to attend those events as a young law student was quite impactful for me.)
Linda had a true passion for her work, an infectious love for the arts and artists, and she was a wonderful teacher to me and the many other law students she mentored over the years. I will always be grateful for Linda.
How very sad. I knew Linda well and for a long time. She loved to help artists and spent many hours in our offices at Bryan Cave talking about art and Chicago artists. She always had a smile. Will miss her.
Such a warm and welcoming soul. This is horrible news.
How terrible. Thank you for letting us know, Jan.
I first met Linda when she joined by the LCA Board many years ago. Her friendly personality, energy and creativity enabled her to contribute greatly to the success of LCA. And she was very generous in sharing her entertainment law expertise with an E & T lawyer like me. This senseless tragedy took an exceptional friend from all of us.
This is so very sad. Linda was such a lovely person. She will be missed.
May she rest in peace.
What a terrible loss of a wonderful person. I will always warmly remember Linda’s ever-present smile. Over the years she shared some of her numerous, often hard to believe, but always entertaining stories, much to the delight of any audience. In some way, her memory will live on as each of us share those stories with newer generations of lawyers.
A life cut short but well lived indeed.
So incredibly sad. Terrible. May her memory be a blessing.
This is very sad news. I have had the pleasure of working with Linda via LCA for probably 20-25 years. She was always a friendly, kind and sharing person.
Linda was a close friend of mine and I am shakened to say the least. I had not seen your email and never would have thought that Linda was my Linda. I am devastated to say the least.
I am stunned and saddened to hear of Linda’s death. We served many years on LCA together and my wife and I travelled to Cuba with her on a California Lawyers for the Arts tour several years back. She was an important part of Chicago’s arts law community and made a difference everywhere she went.
Just a tragic loss.
So sad to learn of Linda’s tragic death. I knew her and worked with her from LCA’s earliest days. Her spirit was indomitable and her efforts to make this a better, more just world will live on.
Rose Ann Vargas
Hi Jan. I'm shocked and saddened to hear Linda Mensch passed away. I saw the story on the news this morning. What a horrible tragedy. She was such a kind and sweet person...always very friendly and talkative whenever I would see her. She'll be missed.
My condolences to the entire LCA family.
Jan, thank you for calling me with the news last week. Linda's death brings a little more than sadness. When someone passes unexpectedly like this, there's also regret that you didn't have that one last chat or a chance to say goodbye. Linda always picked up her phone to catch up, comment on a case, or talk, at length, about strategy. Music is its own animal in entertainment law, and her experience was a huge asset not only to her clients, but to LCA.
She's part of our not so small family and our legacy. She's a Past President and was, for many years, the only solo practitioner on our board. I'll miss her friendship, her wit and her genuine kindness and generous spirit. No one could miss that she cared passionately about her clients, and I expect that every person she met is somehow better for it.
We’ll collect these moving comments and send them to Linda’s family. They’re beautiful and fitting tributes to a unique and extraordinary person.
There are recurring themes in your comments that say a lot about the strengths of the LCA family that Linda helped to nurture for so many years. They speak of personal friendships, collaborations among colleagues, an overwhelming passion for the arts and artists, and a life-long determination to help creative people meet the challenges they face. Linda exemplified all those attributes and strengths. And, maybe the most fitting single description of Linda, as Jerry Glover said to me, is the word, “Empathy.”