areas of expertise
Lisa E. Davis is a partner in our Entertainment Group representing businesses and celebrities in the film, television, publishing, music, theatre, and sports industries. She was recently recognized as a "Leading Woman Lawyer in NYC" by Crain's New York Business (2017), one of The National Law Journal’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers” (2015), by Savoy magazine in their “Most Influential Black Lawyers of 2015”, in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 (Entertainment), and in Variety’s “Power of Women New York Impact Report” (2014).
Ms. Davis was also named a New York-area 2017 “Super Lawyer” in the fields of entertainment, sports, and intellectual property by Super Lawyers magazine. In the past, Ms. Davis received a Women of Power award from the National Urban League (2011). She was recognized in The Network Journal’s “Attorneys at the Top” feature (2011), and was named “Lawyer of the Year” by the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (2011). She was also included in The Network Journal’s list of the “25 Influential Black Women in Business” (2007), received the Jacob K. Javits Achievement Award from Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (2003), and was named one of “America’s Top Black Lawyers” by Black Enterprise Magazine (2003) and one of that magazine’s “Top 50 Black Power Brokers in Entertainment” (2002).
Ms. Davis advises on a full range of transactional matters - focusing on independent film (both feature and documentary), unscripted television production, live stage and branded entertainment. Ms. Davis has served as counsel on such documentary films as “Free Angela”, “The Black List”, and “9/11”, and features such as the classic Spike Lee films “Malcolm X” and “Jungle Fever”. Ms. Davis has an extensive publishing practice, representing authors and author estates, literary agents and publishers, including authors Terry McMillan and Valerie Plame Wilson. She counseled the late Dr. Manning Marable in the writing of his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Malcolm X. Ms. Davis also represents award-winning playwrights, directors and Broadway producers and has been involved in such shows as “Clybourne Park”, “Motown the Musical”, “Let Me Down Easy”, “Radio Golf”, and “Bridge & Tunnel”. In her sports marketing practice she represents athletes such as Kawhi Leonard.
Beyond counseling on day-to-day business issues, Ms. Davis also advises clients on how best to exploit ancillary markets. She has helped many entertainment clients expand into complementary businesses, including publishing, concert promotion, music, celebrity endorsements, and merchandising.
Ms. Davis is a well-known public speaker. She has recently been featured at the Hollywood Creative East Forum, the Tribeca Film Institute, and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications. In 2013 she was a panelist at the NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp, speaking on film finance. She also has been featured at the annual Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC) conference several times, presenting on branded entertainment, electronic marketing and legal ethics, and she served on the “Social Media in a Free Society” panel at the Presidential Summit portion of the NYSBA Annual Meeting in 2010. Ms. Davis has been quoted in Elle Magazine, The New York Times, Black Enterprise, The Network Journal, The New York Law Journal, and other publications.
Ms. Davis is chair of the board of the Urbanworld Film Festival Foundation and is a board member of The Council of Urban Professionals. Prior to joining Frankfurt Kurnit, she clerked for the Honorable Constance Baker Motley in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Davis is a graduate of Harvard University (BA, 1981) and New York University (JD, 1985), where she was a staff member of the New York University Law Review and a Root-Tilden scholar. She is admitted to practice in New York.
awards & recognition
Most Influential Black Lawyers of 2015 - Savoy Magazine
Featured in Variety's Power of Women New York Impact List
National Law Journal Outstanding Women Lawyers
"Leading Woman Lawyer in NYC" by Crain's New York Business
Best Lawyers in America - Entertainment Law
New York-area "Super Lawyer" in Entertainment & Sports and Intellectual Property by Super Lawyer magazine
"America's Top Black Lawyers" and "Top 50 Black Power Brokers in Entertainment" by Black Enterprise magazine
Featured in "Attorneys at the Top" and "25 Influential Black Women in Business" in The Network Journal
"Woman Of Power Award" from the National Urban League
Jacob K. Javits Achievement Award
Harvard University (BA)
New York University School of Law (JD)
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Corporate Counsel Women of Color 14th Annual Career Strategies Conference
Lisa Davis presents "Women of Color Partners: 10 Business Development Strategies to Help You Build a Viable Book of Business" at the CCWC (Corporate Counsel Women of Color) 14th Annual Career Strategies Conference at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
October 10 2018
Past Speaking Engagements
Handle Your Entertainment Business
July 13 2018
Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit
March 8 2018
Council of Urban Professionals Fellows Alumni Event
Lisa Davis will be the keynote speaker this Thursday at the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellows Alumni Event at the Bank of America Tower.
November 30 2017
Race, Inequality and the Legal Profession
October 12 2017
World of Money 2017
Lisa Davis presents at the youth financial education program, “World of Money,” on Monday, July 17th at the Beacon School.
July 17 2017
Odyssey’s Writer’s Bootcamp 2017
Lisa Davis participates in Odyssey’s Writer’s Bootcamp in Charleston, SC on July 12th – 14th.
July 12 2017
Alumni of the Black Law Students Association
Lisa Davis presents the keynote presentation and will receive a notable recognition award at the Alumni of the Black Law Students Association event at the New York Law School.
March 17 2017
Lisa Davis at the Council of Urban Professionals 7th Annual Lawyers Forum
November 1 2016
Transition from the Cockpit to the Next Step
Lisa Davis moderates a panel at the TRAC Conference (the association of NASCAR counsel) in Charlotte, North Carolina. The panel is titled “Transition from the Cockpit to the Next Step.”
April 13 2016
Odyssey Writer’s Boot Camp
Lisa Davis speaks on a panel at the Odyssey Writer’s Boot Camp sponsored by Comcast/NBCUni in Baltimore, Maryland
February 24 2016
Corporate Counsel Women of Color 11th Annual Career Strategies Conference
Lisa E. Davis speaks on two panels at the annual CCWC Career Strategies Conference in Atlanta. She speaks on, "What Every In House Counsel Needs to Know about Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks" and "Avoiding Intellectual Property Liability in Advertising."
September 23 2015
Entertainment and Sports Lawyering in the Age of New Media
Lisa Davis moderates the panel, "Entertainment and Sports Lawyering in the Age of New Media" at the Black Entertainment Sports Lawyers Association Mid Year Conference at Fordham University Law School beginning at 10:30AM.
May 1 2015
Tribeca Film Institute All Access Lecture Series
Lisa Davis speaks on current topics in the online distribution of independent film at Cardozo School of Law.
February 4 2015
NAMIC’s 28th Annual Conference
Lisa Davis moderates the Run for Cover! session at NAMIC's Annual Conference.
September 16 2014
Hollywood Creative East Forum
Lisa Davis moderates a panel at the Hollywood Creative East Forum, an event sponsored by the Walter Kaitz Foundation in partnership with the American Black Film Festival.
June 19 2014
NFL Hollywood Boot Camp
Lisa Davis participates in a film finance panel at the NFL Hollywood Boot Camp in Los Angeles.
March 14 2013
All’s Not Fair: Copyright and Fair Use - What Constitutes Protected Parody
February 5 2013
IP Alchemy: Monetizing Stale Copyright and Trademark Portfolios
Lisa Davis presents "Alchemy: Monetizing Stale Copyright and Trademark Portfolios to Spawn Fresh Revenue Streams" at the MCCA CLE Expo in Chicago.
March 17 2011
Gotham Media Breakfast 2011
Frankfurt Kurnit hosts the annual Gotham Media 2011 Forecast Breakfast. Lisa Davis moderates a panel that includes Jim Gaines, the former publisher of Life magazine, Paul Kontonis of The Third Act (Digitas), Andrew Morse of ABC News, and others.
December 3 2010
Lisa Davis Presents at the Tribeca Film Festival
Lisa Davis presents on film finance at the Tribeca Film Festival.
April 22 2010
Lisa Davis attends the Council of Urban of Professionals Media & Entertainment Forum in New York
Lisa Davis attends the Council of Urban of Professionals Media & Entertainment Forum in New York. Lisa is on the Forum Host Committee.
news & press
The Best Lawyers in America 2019
We are pleased to report that Best Lawyers — the oldest and one of the most respected peer reviewed lawyer recommendation services — continues to recommend Frankfurt Kurnit.
Black Enterprise Covers the American Black Film Festival 2018
Black Enterprise includes Lisa E. Davis in its coverage of the American Black Film Festival in Miami. Ms. Davis spoke about protecting intellectual property and executing talent contracts during the "Business of Entertainment Seminar: Unlocking the Mystery of Deal Points."
The Lawyer’s Oath and the Rule of Law
The New York State Bar Journal published Lisa E. Davis’ article “The Lawyer’s Oath and the Rule of Law”. The article focuses on the role of attorneys in defending the rule of law and individual constitutional rights in the current political climate.
The Best Women Lawyers In New York City (2018)
Leading Women Lawyers in NYC
Crain’s New York Business included Victoria Cook and Lisa E. Davis in its 2018 inaugural list of Leading Women Lawyers in New York City. The honor is in recognition of their influence in the New York City business community.
The Best Lawyers in America 2018
Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" ranked Frankfurt Kurnit nationally in "Tier 1" in Advertising, Copyright, Entertainment - Motion Pictures and Television, and Trademark Law, "Tier 2" in Litigation - Intellectual Property, Media Law, and Trusts & Estates Law, and "Tier 3" in Commercial Litigation and Regulatory
Lisa Davis in Local Girl Gang
Hannah Magazine’s Summer 2017 issue features Lisa Davis and her supportive group of women friends, dubbed the “Bad MamaJamas.” The article quotes Lisa: “From the Black Women’s Club Movement led by women such as Dorothy Height, who organized to advance the needs of the entire Black community to the Black sororities, the history of Black women is one of us using sisterhood to support one another and address the needs of our community.” For more information, or to order a copy of the magazine, click here.
June/July Sports Industry News
Here's what's happening at the intersection of sports, marketing, and entertainment law.
‘Politically Charged Environment’ Fuels Discussion at City Bar Diversity Conference
Amanda Seales Upped To Regular On HBO’s Insecure
Shondaland To Develop Luvvie Ajayi’s Book “I’m Judging You” As Cable Series
Deadline features the news that Luvvie Ajayi’s debut book, I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual, will be developed as a cable comedy series by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers’ Shondaland, along with ABC Signature Studios.
Thirty-eight Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-eight Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition.
CNN Films to Air Updated “9/11″
The Best Lawyers in America 2017
In its 2017 edition, Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" ranked Frankfurt Kurnit nationally in "Tier 1" in Advertising, Copyright, Entertainment - Motion Pictures and Television, and Trademark Law, "Tier 2" in Litigation - Intellectual Property, Media Law, and Trusts & Estates Law, and "Tier 3" in Commercial Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement Litigation.
Variety’s Legal Impact Report for 2016
How Dumb Is It, Legally, for a Celebrity to Tweet While in the Middle of a Lawsuit?
LA Judge Halts Sale of Disjoined Tavern Mural
Thirty-seven Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition.
The Best Lawyers in America 2016
Best Lawyers recognized our firm and 17 of our attorneys in their 2016 list.
Lisa E. Davis in the National Law Journal
Thirty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition.
Savoy Magazine Recognizes Lisa E. Davis
The current issue of Savoy features Lisa E. Davis in the 2015 Most Influential Black Lawyers list. It is the definitive listing of African American executives, influencers and achievers impacting corporate America.
Public Enemy’s Former Lawyer Talks Cultural Appropriation and Copyrights in Hip-Hop
NAMIC Previews Speaker Line-Up For 28th Annual Conference
Entertainment Newsweekly mentioned Lisa E. Davis in its report on the announced speaker line-up for The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communication's (NAMIC) 28th Annual Conference.
Best Lawyers 2015
Best Lawyers recognized our firm and 16 of our attorneys in their 2015 list.
Production Tax Incentives for Documentary Films
State production tax incentives have become an increasingly important part of any financing plan for feature length fiction films. But what about documentary films?
Lisa Davis’ Legal Advice Helps Creatives Leap Off the Page - And Find the Money
New York Women’s Impact List
Frankfurt Kurnit in “Best Lawyers 2014”
In its 2014 edition Best Lawyers ranked Frankfurt Kurnit in "Tier 1" in Advertising, Copyright, Entertainment, Trademark, and Trust & Estates Law, "Tier 2" in Litigation (IP) and Media Law, and "Tier 3" in Commercial Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement Litigation.
Twenty-nine Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2013
Lisa Davis in Mother Knows Best: 9 Successful Women Reveal the Best Career Advice They Got from Mom
Nine Frankfurt Kurnit Women Honored As “Super Lawyers”
Nine Frankfurt Kurnit women appeared in The New York Times Magazine’s women "Super Lawyers" list for 2012. The list appeared on December 30th in a special section devoted to women attorneys in the New York metropolitan area.
Frankfurt Kurnit Top Ranked in Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms for 2013
Best Lawyers ranked Frankfurt Kurnit one of the "Best Law Firms" of 2013.
Twenty-two Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2012 NY-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers listed twenty-two Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2012 edition.
Can You Recapture Valuable Grants of Rights?
If you are an author, musician, artist, or other creator of intellectual property (or the heir to such a person), it’s a good time to learn whether you are taking full advantage of your ability to "recapture" certain grants of rights made years ago. While everyone’s business deals are different, we urge you to consider the quick summary below: you may have untapped sources of valuable intellectual property.
Seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2011 New York-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers named seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2011 edition.
Lisa E. Davis to Receive Women of Power Award
Frankfurt Kurnit in the Network Journal Magazine
Lisa Davis Quoted in New York Law Journal
The New York Law Journal quoted Lisa E. Davis on social networking efforts in the legal field.
Lisa Davis Mentioned in Hollywood Reporter as the Broker for TeenNick Deal
The Hollywood Reporter mentioned Lisa Davis as the attorney who brokered the deal between The N, which will be rebranded TeenNick, and Catwalk, the sophomore book series from The Cheetah Girls author Deborah Gregory, for a potential TV series.
Lisa Davis in New York Daily News
Governor Paterson to Make Changes to his Administration
Black Law Partners Work Hard for Obama
Eaten Alive in the Studio Jungle
The Los Angeles Times quoted Lisa E. Davis in "Eaten Alive in the Studio Jungle". The Press of Atlantic City and The Journal Gazette reprinted the article.
Intransigence on Diversity
Lisa E. Davis' article, "Intransigence on Diversity" appeared in the December/January edition of The Network Journal.
Local Writer Claims Spike Lee Stole Script
The Courier Journal mentioned Lisa E. Davis in "Local Writer Claims Spike Lee Stole Script".
The Rise of Independent Music
Black Enterprise magazine quoted Lisa Davis in its December article "The Rise of Independent Music".
Author and former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson acknowledged Lisa Davis in the book, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.
The Making of an Indie
Black Enterprise magazine quoted Lisa Davis on independent film distribution in the August 2007 article, "The Making of an Indie."
Lisa Davis Featured in The Network Journal Magazine
Heightened Enforcement - and What to Do About It
New developments in indecency law are changing the way media executives and artists do business. Until now, broadcasters and artists could argue that certain questionable content was not indecent in light of the context of the challenged utterances. However, recent changes in the law suggest that context may no longer matter, thereby removing an important defense to a Federal Communications Commission complaint.