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    December 22, 2010  
 
MAD MAN

Hello, New York! We've been the best read local legal publication in DC for several years, and now are inflicting ourselves on other cities. We're free and use pics and boldfaced words to make it easy on you, but we work hard to convey useful info. Our motto? "(Almost) Never Boring." Feel free to send us story ideas.

 
The ad industry is undergoing ginormous changes, and Frankfurt Kurnit is keeping pace, adding three partners in the last few months to the 55 attorney firm, which includes NYC’s largest entertainment practice (6 of its 16 attorneys are Best Lawyers) and one of the largest advertising and marketing practices (3 of 12 are Best Lawyers), run by 2011 NY Media Lawyer of the Year, Rick Kurnit.
 
Frankfurt Kurnit 2011 NY Media Lawyer of the Year, Rick Kurnit
Rick has advertising and marketing in his blood—his brother, Paul, was president of Griffin Bacall ad agency, brother Scott founded AdKeeper.com (and About.com), and his father Shep (cutout above) was the creative director and chairman of the DKG ad agency— perhaps an inspiration for the firm in Mad Men. After all, they were both on the 38th floor of the Time Life Building and took a stand against advertising cigarettes. Rick says he became interested in 1st Amendment law while clerking, then went to Paul Weiss to do libel work when they repped the NY Post (aka The Libel Factory Daily). When the Post changed law firms after being acquired, Rick sought refuge in representing an ad agency client of Paul Weiss. Eventually, Rick tells us, he decided to marry the idea of advertising law with an entertainment practice when he joined what was then Frankfurt Garbus Klein & Selz and is now a name partner at one of the leading advertising and entertainment law firms.
 
Citibank Mini
 
samsung ad vanna white Rick Kurnit

We know you may have thought this Samsung ad was simply a picture of our new girlfriend delivered in time for Christmas, but, in fact, it’s the ad from one of the leading cases on the right of publicity. Rick tells us he repped the defendant sued by Vanna White for using her likeness without her permission. He’s handled many of the leading cases defining the application of IP law to advertising and marketing communications, including repping the defendants in the Woody Allen and Jackie Onassis look-alike cases; and authors and publishers Viking Press, Nelson DeMille, and Terry McMillan in libel cases based on works of fiction. He tells us he also repped an author sued by his ex-girlfriend after the writer wrote her into his novel as a prostitute (he used her real name, address, and appearance too). Rick won a unanimous decision in the New York Court of Appeals dismissing her defamation claim and establishing the law in New York on defamation based on a novel.

Rick Kurnit Richard Mizdal painting Speonk River

Rick showed us this Richard Mizdal painting of the pond in Rick’s backyard that opens into the Speonk River. He uses it to instruct clients that while he commissioned the painting and owns it, the copyright symbol he’s pointing at indicates the artist retains the copyright. Last year, Rick visited a different (and browner) river, the Amazon, for 10 days with his wife and other board members of the NY Botanical Gardens. He says they used beef hearts to catch a couple Piranhas, but he still has 10 fingers and toes. In March, he’s going to the Galapagos for eight days sandwiched between two speaking engagements in DC at the Association of National Advertisers Legal Conference and the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting (he’s Vice Chair of the Private Advertising Litigation Committee).


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HOLIDAY DEALS

 
Schulte Roth’s real estate chair Jeff Lenobel
Schulte Roth real estate chair Jeff Lenobel says real estate work in NYC is back and the firm is almost doubling its class of summer interns to keep up with demand. He’s seeing activity in Class-A primary markets on the coasts similar to ’05-’06, and prices have skyrocketed in DC and NYC over the last six months. Currently, he’s working on a $1.5B refinancing of a portfolio of hotels in Hawaii and San Fran. As a true NYer, he loves his deals in NYC and says his recent representation of a private equity fund manager that bought the Buckingham Hotel on 57th and 6th (supposedly for $90M with millions of dollars worth of renovations to come) is indicative of the investment communities’ optimism in the NYC real estate market.
 
Jeff Lenobel, pig figurines collection
We snapped this of the three pigs that inspired a collection of over 500 from six continents (with no piggy banks or salt and pepper shakers). He tells us his daughter saw these in a Florida shop and said, “they look like you, mom, and me on a beach!” (Presumably she’s since been disinherited.) He started collecting hundreds more with a goal of collecting one from every continent. Hoping to complete the collection, he recently ventured from Ushuaia, Argentina (the southernmost city in the world ), through the Drake Passage and some of the roughest waters on the planet, down to Antarctica. The waters were so fierce, they rocked the cruise ship, breaking a man’s wrist and causing ice-cold water to crash through Jeff’s window as he slept. But he ventured on. Alas! Of the few residents of the icy continent, none had any swine figurines for Jeff’s collection.
Jeff Lenobel Schulte Roth Mets fan

Jeff, a huge Mets fan, shows us his (highly reflective) license plate that reads NY METS and his old seat at Shea Stadium given to him by his daughters for his last birthday. (Presumably the new one is heated.) Just behind the seat is his collection of the World Series winning ’69 Mets and original Topps baseball cards (though the Nolan Ryan rookie card, valued at $2500, is missing). Jeff tells us that after Willie Mays blew off the wedding and Bar Mitzvah invitations he sent, he was finally able to pair up with the Hall of Famer on the golf course a few years back. Though Willie was recovering from glaucoma surgery, we imagine Jeff’s lower score still tasted sweet. Last year, Jeff says he spent a lot of time on the course, but now that the real estate market is back, he’s already happily postponed his Florida vacation this month to work on deals.


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WYCLEF LLP

 
Wyclef Jean at DLA Piper

Some firms have all the fun. This Monday on DLA Piper’s 27th floor, a couple hundred folks rocked out during a surprise Wyclef Jean concert in their multipurpose room. DLA’s tax and corporate specialist, David Hryck (above on the right), has repped Wyclef since the end of ’08 in business planning and contract negotiations, and the firm’s done corporate governance work for the artist’s foundation, Yéle Haiti. David says the concert came together over lunch at Del Frisco’s last Friday. We guess this won’t be the last time a slice of their heavenly lemon cake inspires a brilliant idea.

 
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