Featured Member

Associate Board Member Amy Adler - A Major Proponent of Live Music and the Chicago Arts Scene

Amy Adler is currently legal counsel at Shure Incorporated. At Shure, Amy primarily focuses on a variety of transactional matters and Shure’s trademark portfolio. Prior to joining Shure, her practice concentrated on trademark and copyright litigation and prosecution, domain name disputes and transactional matters for clients and their businesses. Amy is also an Adjunct Professor at Harper College, where she teaches Intellectual Property and Contract Law for paralegals. She graduated from The John Marshall Law School and served as the Symposium Editor on the Review of Intellectual Property Law. Amy has enjoyed counseling and working with LCA clients since 2016. 

Associate Board Featured Member: Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown is an Intellectual Property Associate at Mayer Brown, where he focuses his practice on M&A transactions and trademark and trade dress prosecution and enforcement. Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Jonathan practiced corporate transactions, advising multinational enterprises on operational and strategic considerations associated with M&A, restructurings and intellectual property and tax matters. Jonathan attended Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, where he was honored to deliver the commencement address to he graduating class. Prior to joining LCA’s Associate Board, Jonathan was pleased to offer pro bono legal services to LCA clients working in music, film and entertainment.
 

Gwen Hochman Stewart

Gwen Hochman Stewart is an associate in the IP Litigation group at Sidley Austin LLP.  Her practice focuses on patent litigation but also includes other complex litigation involving technology or other IP issues. Gwen attended Harvard Law School, where she served as Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, and she clerked for the Hon. William Alsup at the U.S.

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A graduate of the John Marshall Law School, Florence has been a successful business consultant for over 12 years.  She has a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from DePaul University and received a Bachelors in Business Administration from Howard University.  She worked for the City of Chicago, DePaul University, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Trucrowd Illinois, Inc, the first registered equity Crowdfunding platform in Illinois. Besides her duties with truCrowd, she also operates her own law firm focusing on small business owners, artists and artisans.  Florence is also an Adjunct Professor of Business Ethics and Entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Florence has lived and studied in Chicago, Illinois, Washington, DC and Berlin, Germany.  

Q: How did you learn about Lawyers for the Creative Arts and what led you to apply to join the Associate Board?
A: I have known about the LCA since before law school.  I have been a professional artist for years and looked to the organization when I needed assistance. I joined the Associate Board in 2019 and have been a member for less than 1 year. 

What do you enjoy about being an Associate Board member? 
I enjoy the network that being a member provides, along with the range of educational opportunities that exist.


What types of LCA matters have you taken on?
I have done small copyright cases. 


What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Be ready to educate your clients and have patience to deal with them should they not understand the concepts upon first explanation.

What has it been like working with our clients? How does the experience differ from your job at your firm?
In my firm, I work with mostly small business owners and artists so there has not been much difference in my experience. 


Do you have any personal background in the arts?"Royal Chicago" on exhibit at the Blackstone Hotel
I am a professional fiber artist and have had a piece of art displayed in the Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago (pictured at right).


Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
Absolutely. I love all mediums of arts and try to go on art tours monthly with my husband. The range and vibrancy of the art scene always surprises me when I compare it to other metro areas. 


How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
Being able to provide artist and artisans with the support they need to keep creating is what makes Chicago the exciting place it is. 


Finally, which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend? 
I just finished binge watching “Airplane Repo” and thoroughly enjoyed the series. 


Thank you to Florence for taking the time to answer our questions! Follow us on social media for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.

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Jeff Becker is Chair of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group. Among his clients are Grammy Award-winning musicians, producers and songwriters, publishers and record labels, professional athletes, authors, independent filmmakers and other creative individuals and entertainment-related businesses. For these clients, Jeff provides comprehensive representation in the transactional and litigation aspects of their businesses. In doing so, he counsels clients in the preparation, analysis and negotiation of various issues, including licensing and distribution rights, royalty negotiations and disputes, rights acquisition and clearances, talent agreements, production and performance agreements, music publishing and licensing agreements, recording contracts and master license agreements, sponsorship and endorsement agreements, and artist management agreements. Jeff strives to find the most cost-efficient way to help clients secure and protect their rights. He is an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University College of Law, where he teaches Music Law, and has guest lectured on entertainment-related topics at various colleges, law schools and conferences across the country.

Jeff also previously served as Chair of the Swanson Martin & Bell, LLP’s Community Service/Pro Bono Committee. He proudly volunteers his time to Lawyers for the Creative Arts and is a founding member and former President of the Associate Board.



How did you learn about Lawyers for the Creative Arts and what led you to apply to join the Associate Board?
I first learned about Lawyers for the Creative Arts over coffee with former LCA President, Andy Goldstein. Andy told me about the amazing work LCA provides to the Chicago creative community, and how young lawyers can get involved to help these artists. Within a few days, I applied to become a volunteer attorney, and soon thereafter, had my first case assignment. I am one of the founding members of the Associate Board, so I have been involved since the very beginning. 


What’s your favorite LCA memory? 
Having the opportunity to present the Distinguished Service Honoree award to our client, Josephine Lee and the Chicago Children’s Choir, during the LCA benefit luncheon in 2018. 


What do you enjoy about being an Associate Board member? 
I most enjoy the community the Associate Board has created and fosters for our volunteer lawyers.  In doing so, the Associate Board provided me with an opportunity to form lifelong friendships with some of the most passionate entertainment attorneys in Chicago.


Which LCA or Associate Board events have you participated in?
My primary contribution to the Associate Board has come in the form of educational programming.  I co-chaired the Associate Board’s education sub-committee with Jessica Bahr for several years, during which time we organized some very exciting CLE events in collaboration with the Goodman Theatre, The Music Garage, Tribeca Flashpoint, Leo Burnett and the Steve Harvey Show (thanks to our good friend, Jed Enlow). More recently, I helped LCA collaborate with our friends at the Recording Academy and 2112 to organize educational programming concerning the Music Modernization Act, new legislation that will significantly impact how our music community is compensated for their work. I am extremely proud of these presentations, and the opportunities they have provided to both our volunteer attorneys and artists to enhance their understanding of complicated legal issues impacting their business. 


What types of LCA matters have you taken on?
I vividly recall my first LCA matter ever.  I represented a gentlemen who was in a dispute with his uncle over who owned the rights to his mother’s publishing catalogue.  She was a songwriter that had recently passed away, and her family could not agree on how to handle the administration of her music.  I stepped in to resolve the dispute on behalf of my client, and was excited to help him do so in a manner that allowed him to start collecting much-needed income while also repairing his relationship with his uncle.  

Since that time, I have taken on many film and music-related matters, including, for example: assisting producers in claiming their rights to royalties, extricating artists from toxic management agreements, cleaning up the catalogues of legacy artists, addressing disputes among band members and helping clear rights for filmmakers.  I have also worked hard to strengthen the relationship between LCA and our firm, and in doing so, have expanded our volunteer team to several attorneys who take on matters in film, music, television and literary fields.   


What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew, especially with your first matter. LCA has an amazing network of lawyers, and excellent educational resources, to help guide you through the process. So feel free to reach out for help to assure that you are providing your client with top-notch legal services. 


Do you have any personal background in the arts?
In high school, I was in all the plays and musicals, as well as show choir. I also played a decent guitar and piano. While I would have loved to make a living as an actor, I was too risk averse to take a run at “making it” as an artist. Thus, when I saw the opportunity to work with the creative arts community from a lawyer’s perspective, I was thrilled to merge my love of the arts with my chosen career path. 


Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
I closely follow what our local artists are up to here in Chicago.  From the local theatre scene to intimate music rooms, there is amazing art being created that needs to be recognized. I also love walking the city and taking in the astonishing creations by our local muralists. Some of the most beautiful art in Chicago can be found on the sides of its buildings and in its alleys.

What about the arts in Chicago strikes you as unique?
The resilience of our artists is second to none. 


How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
Obviously the amazing network of volunteer attorneys that LCA provides to the Chicago arts community is vital to the success of our creatives.  Access to legal services is essential, but so many artists starting out in the business simply cannot afford it. This, of course, places these artists in a position to be taken advantage of by third-parties that swoop to take ownership or control over their creations. Thus, by the time an artist finally reaches the stage of his or her career where he or she can afford a lawyer, it’s too late. LCA provides artists with the support they need to make sure they are not building their business on a house of cards.


You have recently been quite active in building awareness of the difficulties that the arts community is facing during COVID-19 on social media. How did you get involved in these efforts?
Many clients started reaching out soon after state governments started implementing orders that restricted (and in some cases, entirely prohibited) live performances from taking place. Once South by Southwest was cancelled and Coachella rescheduled, there was a rush of concern as to what was going to happen with respect to the live music industry over the coming months. Thus, we spent a considerable amount of time working through force majeure clauses in our client contracts and working with various interested parties to reach commonsense resolutions that address both sides’ concerns without focusing too heavily on what the contract required. I then started focusing on identifying other opportunities available to artists to help them offset some of the losses they were experiencing due to the pandemic, and to create opportunities that would not have existed but for the pandemic.  For example, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Recording Academy, I know how essential the MusicCares program is to so many artists around the country, but also realized pretty quickly after the onset of COVID-19, there are many artists who had no idea that MusicCares even existed. Thus, I reached out to as many artists as I could to let them know that, through MusicCares, the Recording Academy created a relief fund designed to quickly send financial support to artists who lost income due to COVID-19.  

A few weeks ago, I created a weekly concert series called “Concerts from My Couch,” where we invite artists to perform in a closed “digital venue” comprised of audiences from around the world (who, of course, are all joining us from the comfort of their living room).  We have been able to raise thousands of dollars for these artists, and have provided a much needed break from the monotony for our audience. It is extremely gratifying to see so many people coming together during a time when we are supposed to be staying apart.


Finally, which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend? 
On the literary side, I just finished (and really enjoyed) “They Call Me Supermensch,” the autobiography of legendary manager, Shep Gordon.  He is a monster of a figure in the music industry, and some of the lessons pulled from that book are amazing. On the television side, I am about halfway through this season of “Ozark” and cannot wait to see where this story goes.  I also recently finished “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” which is one of the most effective shows I have ever seen at addressing stigmas around issues of mental health, all while paying homage to around 100 different Broadway shows. 


Thank you to Jeff for taking the time to answer our questions! Visit Jeff's profile at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLC to learn more about his remarkable career and continue to check social media and this website for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.

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Kenneth “Kenny” Matuszewski, pictured at the Chicago Bar Association's "Spring into Service" Event with fellow Associate Board member Myka Bell, is an Associate Counsel at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, where he focuses his practice on patent prosecution. Currently, he is the Treasurer of the Associate Board. Before taking on that role, Kenny was a Volunteer Attorney for LCA and a general member of the Associate Board. A firm believer that learning is a life-long process, Kenny obtained a B.S. in Computer Science from Oregon State University in December 2019. Previously, he attended the University of Notre Dame, where he double-majored in Biological Sciences and Spanish and received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law. 


How did you learn about Lawyers for the Creative Arts and what led you to apply to join the Associate Board?
I learned about LCA in law school, after hearing members of the organization speak at an Intellectual Property Law Society meeting. Since childhood, I have believed in giving back to my community and using my gifts to help others. As a fellow musician, I realized I could connect with LCA’s clients on a deeper level and use my unique background to solve their legal problems. Therefore, it was an easy decision for me to serve as a volunteer for the organization and apply for membership to the Associate Board shortly after my law school graduation.  

I joined the Associate Board in 2017, and have served as the Treasurer since 2019, so I’ve been a member for 3 years and part of the Executive Board for almost a year now.

What’s your favorite LCA memory? 
A few years ago, I drafted an agreement to transfer the copyright interest in several illustrations to an author of a young adult novel. My client was an up-and-coming author with the ambition to create a book series that would empower young and middle-grade girls. Helping her make an agreement that was clear and fair to both parties was incredibly rewarding. 

A few months later, I received a copy of her book. This was especially meaningful, because, through our discussions, I learned just how hard it is to publish a book, especially when legal issues are involved. In my own small way, I helped an artist accomplish her goals. The fact that she personally signed my copy and acknowledged me in the book was the cherry on top. 

What do you enjoy about being an Associate Board member? 
We have a unique group of members that all share a common connection with the arts. Everyone is also passionate about their work and talented, but most importantly, they are kind. I have incorporated advice that other Associate Board members have given me into my own practice, and they have broadened my artistic horizons. 


Which LCA or Associate Board events have you participated in?
I have participated and helped organize several events. First, I gave a presentation about esports and IP at 2112 in 2017. A year later, I developed a program with fellow Executive Board member Michael Reed that discussed the artistic merits of video games. Since then, I have served as one of the Co-Chairs for the Education Committee. Currently, we are planning an educational program titled “From Student to Master: What You Need to Know About Copyright Litigation,” that will take place on March 25th. The goal of the panel is to give attorneys who do not practice copyright law the resources they need to succeed if they take on such a matter. 

Outside of educational events, I try to attend as many of the socials and signature LCA events as possible, such as the Holiday Party, Annual Luncheon and Shindy. I haven’t missed most of these events in years!  


What types of LCA matters have you taken on?
I have taken on a wide variety of matters, including copyright, trademark, and patent registrations; copyright ownership agreements; trademark and copyright litigation; and LLC formations.


What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Take on matters that interest you, even if it’s outside your comfort zone or practice area. There are so many resources available to LCA volunteers, such as LCA’s Video Law Library and LawSmarts, and the broad network of volunteers. LCA Board members have taken the time to talk through issues with me and give advice on more than one occasion. Further, working hard, being empathetic and listening to your client is often the most important thing you can do. For many clients, this is the first time they are able to share their story, so providing a safe and comforting environment is crucial.  


What has it been like working with our clients? How does it differ from your job at your firm?
At both of my firms, I have focused my practice on patent law: litigation at my first, and prosecution at my current firm. While I have given advice on the patenting process to some of my clients, more frequently, I find myself helping out with other intellectual property matters. This has allowed me to apply my knowledge and skills in new settings, which has only helped me become a better lawyer.  

Working with LCA clients is always a treat. I am continuously impressed by their creativity and passion for their work. Their enthusiasm is infectious, so I am always happy to help them. It also allowed me to immediately develop client counseling and management skills, which can be difficult to obtain right away. I have even formed personal connections with a few of my clients. Some have added me on social media, while others have sent me holiday cards. 


Do you have any personal background in the arts?
I have been a musician since I was 9 years old, when I first started playing the trumpet in the 4th grade concert band. Since then, I have also learned to play the tuba, euphonium, and harmonica. I also dabble in the mandolin and ukulele and am looking to begin learning the bass guitar. 

This musical background has allowed me to play in a wide variety of settings, including wind ensembles, jazz bands, marching bands, brass bands and even mariachi bands. I have taken away something from each group I have joined over the years, which has only helped me become a better musician and develop a greater appreciation of music. 


Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
I currently play tuba and euphonium in the Chicago Bar Association’s Barristers Big Band and Symphony Orchestra (“CBASO”). We had the chance to play at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (“CSO”) Concert Hall and live out one of my childhood dreams. I never would have thought that being a lawyer would give me the chance to achieve some of my other dreams, yet the CBASO allowed me to do that. Joining forces with hundreds of chorus members to play the Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth and the “Hallelujah” Chorus of Handel’s Messiah was incredibly moving and inspiring. I’m pretty sure I had goosebumps for the last half-hour of the concert. 

In the past, I have played trumpet in the Union League Club’s Brass Band. When I have the time, I try to catch as many music shows as I can at bars and smaller venues. People are often surprised when they find out I know my way around a mosh pit as well as a symphony hall. 

I also write a lot. These days, most of my writing is related to my practice area and the legal profession. Luckily, there’s an abundance of topics in those areas, which helps prevent writer’s block, and allows me to write a diverse array of articles. Currently, I am one of the Head Editors for the Chicago Bar Association’s @theBar blog. I have served in that position for the past two years, right around the time the blog started. 

As a Head Editor, I have worn many hats, including Editor, Publicist, Manager, Writer, and even Recruiter. Doing so has allowed me to shape the image, content, and style of the blog, and develop high-quality content for our readers. It’s also given me a greater appreciation and understanding of writing and content creation that several of my LCA clients experience every day. 


How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
LCA has a huge role in supporting the arts in Chicago. Without LCA’s help, artists would be bogged down by legal quagmires. That prevents them from doing what they do best: creating and making social change through their works. LCA is the lifeboat that rescues the artists from the bog. 

LCA also plays a critical role in helping artists live out their dreams and enabling them to focus on their work. In its own way, LCA sets artists free to live out their truths, without having to worry about legal issues, costs, or other barriers to entry. The law is often considered a roadblock, and a tool to imprison or suppress artists’ expression. LCA turns that way of thinking on its head. Instead of being an instrument of oppression and suppression, the law can be a force for good and help artists. 


Finally, which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend? 
Mozart in the Jungle, on Amazon Prime, is the perfect show for LCA volunteers. Tracking the journey of a young oboist in New York City, the show captivated me with its strong characters and storytelling. It also discusses the unique challenges that classical arts, such as the symphony and opera, face today, such as relevance, fundraising, and engaging the next generation. Knowing the various classical songs sprinkled throughout the show is not necessary to enjoy the show, but it definitely made the show even more enjoyable for me! 


Thank you to Kenny for taking the time to answer our questions! Continue to check social media and this website for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.



Katie O'Brien is an Associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and focuses her practice on general litigation, dispute resolution, and intellectual property litigation matters, including defamation and trademark disputes. Prior to joining Katten, Katie received her JD from Vanderbilt University Law School and served as a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow at Lawyers for the Creative Arts.

We spoke with Katie to learn more about her background and work with LCA.

How did you learn about Lawyers for the Creative Arts and what led you to apply to join the Associate Board?

I learned about LCA during my first summer with Katten as a 1L Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) scholar. During that summer, I worked with an IP associate on one of LCA’s cases, assisting with a review of a recording contract for a young Chicago rapper. I joined the associate board because I wanted to continue staying involved with LCA and meet other attorneys passionate about the organization’s mission. I became a member in February 2019, so I have been with the Associate Board for exactly one year now. 

Which LCA or Associate Board events have you participated in?
I have participated in the LCA Shindy, the annual benefit luncheon, the annual holiday party, and will be joining the Associate
Board at Legal Prep Charter Academy this spring to assist the students with completing an indoor mural beautification project at the school.

Do you have a favorite LCA memory?
My favorite LCA memory is experiencing Mary Lane sing the blues at the 2019 Annual LCA Holiday Party.

Can you give an example of an LCA matter that you've worked on recently?
I assisted a visual artist by drafting a cease and desist letter relating to defamatory statements being published about him on the internet.

What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Regardless of your daily practice, you are capable of helping a local artist overcome their legal issue, and doing so is so rewarding. 

You previously served as one of LCA’s PILI Fellows. How did that experience serve you as a young lawyer?
My experience as an LCA PILI Fellow provided the opportunity to interact directly with clients on a daily basis. Developing this skill is vital, as it can be difficult for a young associate to have much client interaction at a large law firm. 


What has it been like working with our clients? How does it differ from your job at your firm? 
LCA clients are passionate and grateful. If you are in big law, it is especially refreshing representing an individual instead of a corporation.

Do you have any personal background in the arts?
I have studied vocal jazz since high school. I continued my studies at the University of Miami where I studied music business and jazz voice. 

Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
I have not been able to catch as many shows as I used to, but any time I can go to a concert or live performance I jump on the opportunity. The most recent show I went to was a live storytelling at Lincoln Hall put on by WBEZ and The Moth podcast. 

What about the arts in Chicago strikes you as unique? I think the Chicago arts community is unique because it is a community of support. The community is home grown and unpretentious, and works to provide inclusive opportunities for everyone to engage.

How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
LCA ensures that a legal problem does not take away from an artist’s ability to engage in or profit from their talent and craft. Ensuring access to top-notch lawyers for low to no cost means the average artist does not need to be overwhelmed by a legal issue, and can instead trust that their legal advisor will handle it for them. 

What's a fun fact about you?
A photo of myself and President Obama was featured in Rolling Stone Magazine. 
Note: The photo can be found in the article "Ready for the Fight" from the 2017 Special Edition of Rolling Stone, The Obama Years: Inside a Historic Presidency. The full article can be found here (sadly, without a photo).

Which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend? 
I finally watched Fleabag. Go [binge] watch it.  

Thank you to Katie for taking the time to answer our questions! Continue to check social media and this website for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.