ESQ. Partner • Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz P.C. • New York, N.Y.
Lisa E. Davis tops the charts for her work backstage. Since joining the New York entertainment law firm Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz P.C. in 1988, Davis has represented scores of celebrities and businesses in the motion picture, television, publishing, music and media industries. Her position allows her to pursue her passion for entertainment arts and advocacy.
“In the wake of celebrity misfortunes like Red Foxx, Isaac Hayes, and others who died penniless or live besieged by tax woes, I knew I could make a difference helping to protect [celebrity] interests and income and, more importantly, their contributions to the world,” she asserts.
She negotiates her clients’ film financing, distribution and production agreements; recording, music label, licensing and music publishing agreements; and merchandising agreements, including the sale and licensing of copyrights and trademarks. And she has brokered movie deals, notably the blockbuster hits Malcolm X and The Woodsman. “I feel honored to know that I had a hand in getting a powerful story like Malcolm X to the box office,” she says. “Sometimes I think my job is the next best thing to actually being in the movie.”
The daughter of a jazz musician, who was raised primarily by her mother and stepfather, both educators, Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from New York University. Considered one of the country’s top Black power brokers in entertainment, she frequently takes center stage at conferences and key industry events and is often quoted in the press. In 2003, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp. honored her with its Jacob K. Javits Achievement Award.
Davis previously practiced law at Kramer, Levin, Nessen, Naftalis & Frankel L.L.P. and clerked for the Honorable Constance Baker Motley in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is a member of the New York City Bar Association, the National Bar Association and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association. She has served on the boards of the East Harlem School at Exodus House and the Hurston-Wright Foundation.