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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.

 

Claire Henleben

Claire Henleben is one of two LCA interns this semester. Claire is a 3L at Loyola University of Chicago Law School and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri in history and political science. Before LCA, Claire was a research assistant for Professor James Gathii at Loyola and interned for the Clerk of the Court in the Dirksen Federal building and in the Chicago Field Office for the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to her assistance with client intake, Claire was especially helpful in helping us prepare for a lecture about legacy in the arts community with the Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art. 

 

Start by telling us a little about yourself. What led you to pursue the law?

I’m one of those people who always knew law was what I wanted to do. I was usually on speech and debate, so law seemed like a natural fit. Outside of being a law student, I am a lifelong artist and performer. I learned acrylic painting from my grandmother and I also performed in a ballet company all the way through high school. After some time away from the arts, I wanted to bring the arts back into my life, which is what brought me here to LCA.

 

How did you hear about LCA?

I actually learned about LCA through a Google search! I knew that I wanted to do an internship in the Fall and I wanted to do something in an area that I’m passionate about. LCA showed up as the premier—really the only organization of its kind in this area—so it’s been a good fit.

 

What did you expect? Did anything here surprise you?

Before LCA, I had never worked in a legal aid context before, so I looked forward to working more closely with clients in a way that I’ve never done before. Most of my previous internships were research and writing based. This has been much more hands-on with personal interactions with people who I know are directly benefitting from the work that we do.

It has been especially gratifying to see the whole process unfold—from the initial call and referral, and then eventually seeing that the case has been closed and we’ve helped resolve another case. Something else that has surprised me has been the level of gratitude from our clients. Most are just looking for some validation for their concerns, some respect. The fact that I’ve been able to hear some of these people’s stories has been incredible.

 

Do you have a favorite experience from your time with us?

The benefit was definitely a highlight because I hadn’t really done anything like that before. I loved being involved in some of the planning process and eventually being able to go and see the number of people who care about the work that LCA does. We’re based here in the office most days, so seeing how many people are invested in this organization was exciting.


What’s next for you? Has your time here impacted your plans for your legal career?

Passing the bar exam is the most immediate hurdle, but I eventually hope to go into estate planning. I would like to stay in the area and continue doing pro bono work with LCA. I definitely don’t see the end of my internship here as the end of my involvement with this organization.

 

How has your experience at LCA connected with what you’ve been learning in law school?

I’ve had several opportunities involving estate law, which is one of the areas of law that I’m most interested in. These opportunities have come both in the work I’ve been doing with some of our clients, but also through some of the research I was able to do for our educational programming.

Besides the practical experience I’ve gained from working on matters related to estate law, I also had several opportunities to learn more about Intellectual Property, which I didn’t know as much about before this semester. On top of this exposure to IP, I’m also taking my first courses in IP this semester, so what I’m doing here has lined up very well with those courses.

 

Do you have any more comments about your time here?

I’ve adored the spectacular view from my office! Honestly, it’s wonderful to share an office with other people. In most of my earlier internships I was the lone intern, but it’s been such a great atmosphere here with the staff and Thomas, our other intern.

My experience here at LCA really showed me that I do want to continue working for artists and performers in such a meaningful way.

 

Thomas Key

Thomas Key is our second Fall 2019 intern. Thomas is a 3L at Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Political Science and History. Before LCA, Thomas served as a compliance intern at Upright Law and also interned with Chapekis Chapekis & Schmidt. Thomas contributed to several LCA research projects and was always eager to take on new and interesting issues. We wish Thomas the very best of luck as he completes his JD and continues his journey in the law.

 

Tell us a little about yourself. What led you to pursue the law?

I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and then moved around a lot with my family. Now I’d say that I’ve found my home on the Great Lakeshore.

After undergrad, I went to law school because I wanted to apply my skills in research, argumentation, and writing to helping people and solving problems. Outside of school I’m a hockey player, hiker, cyclist and history buff.

 

I understand that you also DJ?

Yes! In high school I became interested in DJing because of how it allows you to blend hip-hop and electronic styles. It all started with my first deck, which was handed down to me by my brother, and a couple of speakers in my dorm freshman year—but I eventually expanded to DJing formals and larger parties.

These experiences led me to see how law connects with music, especially when it comes to copyright. I remember asking myself several times “is any of this even legal?”

 

How did you hear about LCA?

I learned about LCA through one of my Professors who worked with LCA’s counterpart in New York, VLANY. He described his experiences working with a Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organization (VLA) as one of the best experiences in his early career and strongly recommended finding a way to get involved.

 

What did you expect? Did anything here surprise you?

I expected to be involved with clients directly, but not so directly. But I mean that’s been one of the best parts. You get to see the whole process –dive right in and really help a lot of people. I guess I also didn’t expect the level of joy and gratitude from our clients. I am amazed to see the instincts that so many of our clients have about what is just and what is unjust. Despite imprecision and lack of knowledge of some of the specifics, there’s a strong sense of what is right and wrong, which I find so refreshing.

 

Thomas, the ever-hardworking intern, pauses our interview here to answer the phone and work with a client on intake.

 

Do you have a favorite experience from your time with us?

This happened several times, but probably those circumstances where something I had just learned in class happened to be the key to unlocking this person’s problem and getting them out from under a substantial amount of liability. I’ve also had some great opportunities to continue doing research in areas I love, including projects involving the DMCA and, of all things, choreography.

 

What’s next for you?

I’d like to be working primarily in copyright, trademark and litigation in the Arts and Entertainment industry, but I also have some interest in commercial litigation. I intend to continue to research and write about emerging developments in law and continue to educate people about the law. Longer term, I would like to go back to school for an LLM and ultimately work toward a professorship.

 

Has your time at LCA helped narrow the areas of law you plan to pursue?

One of the reasons why arts law is such an exciting area of the law is that every issue is unique and draws from different areas of laws. Because we work in so many different areas, my time at LCA has actually broadened some of my interests. I already had an interest in copyright, but I had much less experience in labor, contract, and landlord-tenant issues, all of which I’ve had some more exposure to during my time here.

 

How has your experience at LCA connected with what you’ve been learning in law school?

For all the joy that you get out of studying law, there is nothing comparable to actually applying it in this type of setting. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned is to recognize the distinction between what the law provides and what people want from it. I’ve seen how it’s often the case that the law won’t efficiently provide people with a sufficient remedy. In some cases this has been disheartening, but just knowing the level of help that we are able to provide really underlines the importance of considering these legal rights from the perspective of those with less access to legal resources.

 

What has it been like to work with the LCA Staff?

It’s been wonderful. It’s amazing to see what such a lean staff can do year in year out. There’s a real hands-on culture here that I love. Everyone is such a pleasure to work with and I can’t emphasize enough what a joy it is to work with people who are so dedicated to a common goal. You don’t always see that.

In general, I’d say that providing education and seminars is one of the most invaluable resources out there. After you get out of school it’s hard to find opportunities to continue to educate yourself, so the fact that LCA can provide this legal groundwork to so many can’t be understated. That education component is all the more important because it can potentially put people in positions where they might not even need assistance. It’s very proactive of LCA and its staff to be thinking so much about that.

 

Do you hope to volunteer with LCA once are admitted to the bar?

Yes, undeniably. Even if I don’t end up in Chicago, I would find another VLA to work with—I even have a spreadsheet of other VLAs around the country.

 

Finally, I understand that you contribute to an IP blog involving cats! Can you tell me more about that?

I am a “GuestKat” at IPKat, a law blog out of London that has been rated as the world’s Most Popular Intellectual Property Law Blawg by Justia. The sight mostly features discussions of Intellectual Property from a European perspective, but it’s still an interesting blend of European and American issues being discussed by academics who are passionate about all things IP--and who regularly adorn cat photos to their posts. That last bit gives some degree of levity to some pretty heavy topics.

Eleanora Rosati, one of the blog’s key contributors, lectured for one of my classes and I have been contributing regular articles ever since. The first piece I wrote addressed sampling in Europe from an American perspective. (check it out here) and I’ve continued to write about other IP developments in the US.

 

Do you have any other comments that you would like to share?

Even very early in your legal career there are ways to be involved with LCA and benefit the arts community in Chicago. We have this unbelievable arts scene here that needs the legal community. The amount of clients who have emailed me links to all kinds of events after we’ve finished intake is proof of this. The level of immersion in the arts that you get in the city is unbelievable. There’s more of it than you could ever consume and it deserves our attention.

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of William E. Rattner on March 16, 2019. Bill came to LCA in 1999 following a successful 38-year career in commercial litigation, and served as Executive Director from 1999 to 2014. He brought with him his passion for the arts, especially opera, and a drive to make a difference. Bill led the organization through a rough period and rapidly helped the organization regain its standing in the legal and arts communities.

 

Among Bill’s many accomplishments while at LCA was his Non-profit and Tax Exempt Workshop, which has run for more than 15 years, five times a year. The Workshop became a “must” for managers of many hundreds of start-up organizations, folks with great ideas but often little business experience. Bill helped them navigate the daunting application for non-profit status and provided valuable advice on how to run their businesses efficiently and with integrity.

 

The Staff and Boards of LCA, our many volunteer lawyers, and thousands of clients will remember Bill with great affection. He was a true original -- smart, perceptive, with a sharp sense of humor that was always good-hearted. We extend our deepest condolences to the Rattner family.

 

Obituary and funeral details are here. The Rattner family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lawyers for the Creative Arts.