Billboard's 2020 Top Music Lawyers

Four Alumni Make Billboard’s 2020 Top Music Lawyers List

Billboard's 2020 Top Music Lawyers

Four NYLS graduates are among the country’s top music lawyers this year, according to Billboard magazine.

And 2020 has been no ordinary year for the profession.

As Billboard notes, “In a time of unprecedented economic and social upheaval, attorneys throughout the music industry have kept business on course, helped clients cope with the pandemic—and vigorously joined the call for racial justice.”

Craig E. Averill ’93

Averill is a partner at Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy Worob & Averill. His clients include “marketing and media companies, record labels, music publishers, gold and platinum RIAA certified recording artists and Grammy Award-winning producers and songwriters,” his firm bio notes. Billboard wrote that his recent projects, in the wake of COVID-19, have included “negotiating on behalf of artists with canceled tours.” Averill also told the magazine about his firm’s work on “the complicated due diligence and related negotiations and legal work” to secure artists’ assets during this uncertain period. He began his career at Sony Music Entertainment.

David M. Jacobs ’07

Jacobs is a partner at the entertainment and media law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks. The firm’s representative list of clients includes A-list music talents such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, U2, and The Weeknd. Jacobs “guided Lil Nas X during his rapid rise,” Billboard wrote. The magazine also highlighted the firm’s work representing the Robin Hood Foundation related to its May 2020 benefit, which raised $125 million for New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19, and its representation of Lady Gaga, whose April 2020 virtual concert raised $128 million for front-line workers and the World Health Organization.

Christine T. Lepera ’82

Lepera is Co-Chair of the Entertainment/Intellectual Property Litigation Group and a member of the governing board committee at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. Billboard highlighted Lepera’s early 2020 streak of wins: In January, she prevailed in a copyright infringement case on behalf of Drake and Universal Music Group. In February, she had an interim win in producer “Dr. Luke” Gottwald’s ongoing defamation case against singer Kesha. In March, she “notched another victory when a California federal judge overturned a $2.8 million jury verdict and ruled that Gottwald, Katy Perry and other creators of the hit ‘Dark Horse’ did not infringe the copyright of a Christian rapper’s song,” Billboard noted.

Michael Selverne ’84

Selverne is Managing Partner at Selverne & Company. He was highlighted by Billboard for representing music companies Round Hill Music and Kobalt Music and shared that transactions he worked on for these and other clients totaled more than $250 million during the past 18 months. Billboard noted, “During the pandemic, his firm is working with and donating to Manna FoodBank and Homeward Bound, both in Asheville, N.C., to obtain housing and food for those in need. He is also working closely with the Asheville Symphony in developing new models for recording and presenting symphonic music during the lockdown.”

All four alumni practice in New York City. Lepera, Jacobs, and Selverne were also named to Billboard’s list in prior years.