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 is recognized in Variety’s 2020 Legal Impact Report, Best Lawyers in America 2021 (Entertainment), by City & State as one of New York’s “Responsible 100” (2019), by the Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association (2019 Beacon of Industry Award), by Crain’s New York Business 2017 as a “Leading Woman Lawyer in NYC”, by The National Law Journal (“Outstanding Women Lawyers” 2015), by Savoy magazine in their “Most Influential Black Lawyers of 2015,” and in Variety’s “Power of Women New York Impact Report” (2014).
Ms. Davis advises on a full range of transactional matters - focusing on film (both feature and documentary), television, publishing, live stage and branded entertainment. Ms. Davis represents directors, writers and performers in film and television, as well as playwrights and bloggers. In her sports practice, she represents top athletes in their “off the field” activities, including endorsements and investments.
Ms. Davis is chair of the board of the Urbanworld Film Festival Foundation. 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
Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association - 2019 Beacon of Industry Award
City & State - 2019 “Responsible 100” Award
Best Lawyers in America - Entertainment Law
Crain's New York Business - "Leading Woman Lawyer in NYC"
National Law Journal - Outstanding Women Lawyers
Super Lawyers - Entertainment & Sports and Intellectual Property
Savoy Magazine - Most Influential Black Lawyers of 2015
Variety's Legal Impact Report
Variety's Power of Women New York Impact List
"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
Past Speaking Engagements
Lisa E. Davis moderates "Pivoting from Live to Virtual: Navigating the Legal Challenges" during the Mondo.NYC 2020 CLE Program: Business as Unusual.
October 16 2020
WIF Black Member Forum: Entertainment Law 411
Lisa E. Davis speaks on the “Entertainment Law 411” panel during the Women in Film’s Black Member Forum.
October 13 2020
BLACK GIRLS LEAD 2020
Lisa E. Davis participates on the panel "Boss Up: Becoming Business Minded" at the BLACK GIRLS LEAD 2020 virtual conference.
August 1 2020
COVID-19 & the Entertainment Business: Survival Tips for Creatives (Part II)
Lisa E. Davis and Marcie Cleary speak during the Diverse Representation webinar "COVID-19 & the Entertainment Business: Survival Tips for Creatives (Part II)" focusing on questions from creatives about the current production landscape. Register here.
April 29 2020
COVID-19 & The Entertainment Business: Survival Tips for Creatives
April 14 2020
Lisa E. Davis at Howard University Law School
Lisa E. Davis speaks during a panel at the Bridge Lab screening and Lab event at Howard University Law School.
February 26 2020
Werk It! Women’s Podcast Festival
Lisa E. Davis presents "What to Expect When You're Expecting to be Famous" at the Werk It! Women's Podcast Festival in Los Angeles, CA.
October 3 2019
Eliminating Bias and Creating Inclusive Workplaces for Women of Color
June 24 2019
American Black Film Festival
June 15 2019
Black Entertainers & Sports Lawyers Association Mid-Year Conference
Lisa E. Davis is a panelist on “Rainmaking: How to Create an Effective Business Development Strategy” during the BESLA Mid-Year Conference.
April 15 2019
Lisa E. Davis at Blackhouse Foundation’s Pre-Sundance Reception
Lisa E. Davis is one of the hosts for the Blackhouse Foundation pre-Sundance reception at the Writers Guild of America headquarters.
January 9 2019
Lisa E. Davis at Jazz Congress 2019
January 8 2019
Women’s Impact Network / Producers Guild of America
Lisa E. Davis speaks during a roundtable discussion on “Get More When Negotiating - Above and Below the Line” at the Women's Impact Network / Producers Guild of America event at Light Iron.
November 15 2018
#MeToo and the Entertainment Business
Lisa E. Davis moderates #MeToo and the Entertainment Business, a Gotham Media Breakfast Panel, at our New York office.
November 2 2018
Corporate Counsel Women of Color 14th Annual Career Strategies Conference
Lisa E. 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
Handle Your Entertainment Business
July 13 2018
Council of Urban Professionals Fellows Alumni Event
Lisa E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. Davis moderates the Run for Cover! session at NAMIC's Annual Conference.
September 16 2014
Hollywood Creative East Forum
Lisa E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. 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 E. Davis Presents at the Tribeca Film Festival
Lisa E. Davis presents on film finance at the Tribeca Film Festival.
April 22 2010
Lisa E. Davis attends the Council of Urban of Professionals Media & Entertainment Forum in New York
Lisa E. Davis attends the Council of Urban of Professionals Media & Entertainment Forum in New York. Lisa is on the Forum Host Committee.
news & press
Film and TV Industry Grapples with Financial Constraints, Health Guidelines Spurred by Pandemic
Major Studios and Guilds Forge New COVID-19 Production Safety Agreement
As production begins to restart in an ever changing COVID-19 landscape, The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and other major studios announced an important deal with the DGA, IATSE, Teamsters, Basic Crafts, and SAG-AFTRA -- meant to ensure the safety and security of their members during the upcoming months. Read more.
The Best Lawyers in America 2021
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. Read more.
HBO Inks First-Look Deal With SVP Talent Development Kelly Edwards
The Hollywood Reporter mentions Lisa E. Davis as counsel to Kelly Edwards. Ms. Edwards will transition from her executive role to focus solely on writing and producing content for HBO, HBOMax and Turner. View Article
HBO to Adapt Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Between the World and Me’ as Event Special
New York City Reopens for Film and Television Production
On July 17, 2020 NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, with the City entering Phase Four of Reopening on Monday July 20th, 2020, film and television production in the City can restart again in earnest. Read more.
Variety’s 2020 Legal Impact Report
Variety’s 2020 Legal Impact Report includes Marcie Cleary, Lisa E. Davis, and Deborah Wolfe for their work in the podcast space. The list includes legal professionals who made the biggest deals for entertainment industry clients in the past year. View Article
Los Angeles County Authorizes Television, Film, and Music Production Resume on June 12, 2020 With Strict Regulations
On June 11, Los Angeles County approved a staged resumption of film and TV production beginning June 12, 2020. However, it comes with extensive regulations. Read more.
California Will Permit Television, Film, and Music Production to Resume on June 12, 2020 Subject to County Public Health Approvals
As several production-heavy states announce the easing of stay-at-home orders and restrictions, the question of how to restart entertainment production in a safe manner has become paramount. Read more.
Production During the Pandemic
Federal Bill Would Increase Availability of Key Insurance Coverages
As states begin to gradually reopen and networks held virtual upfronts, the entertainment industry is contemplating both when and how production will be able to resume. Studio executives, union representatives and epidemiologists are meeting to develop new protocols that will permit production to restart safely. Read more.
“Packaging Fees” Dispute: Court Permits Certain Writer Claims to Proceed
Film and television creatives and executives have been closely watching William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC vs. Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., a battle between talent agencies and writers over agency “packaging fees.” Resolution of the dispute will have a large impact on how writers, creators, and agents get paid. Recently, a federal judge issued an important ruling on the WGA and individual writers’ claims -- allowing certain claims to proceed. Read more.
The Show Must Go On: Production During the Pandemic
From pitch meetings to development and production, COVID-19 has changed the way creatives and their representatives do business. Read more.
Encantos Launches New Fellowship Program to Discover the Next Generation of Underrepresented Talent
Super Lawyers - New York Metro Top Women for 2020
The New York Times distributed the Super Lawyers list of the New York Metro Area's Top Women for 2020. Fourteen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys made the list: Wendy Stryker (Employment Law), Victoria Cook, Lisa Davis & Jean Ward (Entertainment Law), Barbara Shiers (Estate Planning & Probate), Catherine Farrelly (Intellectual Property), Amelia Brankov, Kim Maynard & Maura Wogan (Intellectual Property Litigation) Candice Kersh & Terri Seligman (Media and Advertising). Sasha Levites (Entertainment Law) Danielle Maggiacomo & Rachel Santori (Intellectual Property Law) are listed as "Rising Stars."
Thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Metro List for 2019
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2019 NY-area edition. Read more.
Judging A Book: Castillo Reviews ‘Raising The Bar’
A Law360 book review by a federal judge mentions Lisa E. Davis. Lisa is featured in the book “Raising the Bar: Diversifying Big Law – A Conversation with Four Partners of Color at Leading Law Firms.” (Behind paywall) View Article
American Black Film Festival Features Events in South Beach
What Will Happen to Jussie Smollett?
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named in Super Lawyers Magazine for 2018
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2018 edition. Read more.
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. Read more.
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." View Article
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. View Article
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. View Article
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 Read more.
Lisa E. Davis in Local Girl Gang
Hannah Magazine’s Summer 2017 issue features Lisa E. 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. Read more.
‘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-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition. Read more.
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. Read more.
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-five Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition. Read more.
The Best Lawyers in America 2016
Best Lawyers recognized our firm and 17 of our attorneys in their 2016 list. Read more.
Lisa E. Davis in the National Law Journal
Thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition. Read more.
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. View Article
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. Read more.
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? Read more.
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. Read more.
Twenty-eight 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. Read more.
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. Read more.
Twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2012 NY-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers listed twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2012 edition. Read more.
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. Read more.
Seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2011 New York-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers named seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2011 edition. Read more.
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. View Article
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. Read more.