The Company of Musicians
How a stint at a record label led Lorri Lomnitzer to intellectual property law
Published in 2022 Florida Super Lawyers Magazine on June 17, 2022
Lorri Lomnitzer has spent much of her legal career making sure musicians are treated fairly. As for herself?
“I don’t sing. I don’t create music,” she says. “[I’m] pretty much tone-deaf.” But she does enjoy the company of musicians—and playing a role in their success.
“Sometimes I hear raw notes from the studio and I get to see that evolve all the way into a Top 40 hit,” Lomnitzer says. “It’s like watching the growth of a baby.”
Born in Montreal and raised in L.A. and Coral Springs, she appeared headed down a business track. Her father was an accountant, and in high school she joined DECA, a club for students interested in marketing and hospitality management. The program included part-time internships, which helped her form ties with local business owners.
When she was 18, Lomnitzer landed a job through “friends of friends” at Summit Entertainment. Now defunct, the 1990s record label published compilations. It was back in the days when dance albums were popular, and the company bought and licensed music from all over the world. As director of operations, Lomnitzer helped the company’s lawyer ensure the copyrights were handled properly.
She enjoyed the work and was making good money. When Summit closed, Lomnitzer tried her hand at day trading—and saw her success rise and fall with the dot-com boom and bust.
At this point, she was urged by her parents to go to college. So she headed to UCLA, where she earned a degree in economics. She happened upon a course in intellectual property and entertainment, which excited her.
“I’d never had that feeling before about something that I wanted to do in the future,” Lomnitzer says. “I’d always learned things and mastered them. But intellectual property was something I genuinely loved—just watching creators create and being part of protecting that creation.”
So she wound up in law school, where she earned her J.D. and a certificate in intellectual property. Then she took on a clerkship in the high-tech crimes unit of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, handling unauthorized CD and DVD duplication, trademark violations, eBay fraud and identity theft cases.
California might seem like a great place to launch a law practice in music and entertainment. But Lomnitzer’s parents persuaded her to return to Florida.
“It was not like California, but it was up-and-coming, and there weren’t too many entertainment and intellectual property lawyers here,” Lomnitzer says. “People were having a hard time finding them.”
After practicing IP law at two South Florida firms, she opened her own boutique practice in 2013. Lomnitzer reached out to her record label network for leads. Recording artists, performers, producers and publishers all needed contracts. She’s represented some Top 40 artists, though she doesn’t divulge names.
It was also a time when tech companies were expanding into South Florida, and streaming services were on the rise. Lomnitzer’s focus also expanded—to include tech startups, sports personalities, social media stars, small businesses and inventors.
Her eponymous firm files trademark, copyright and patent applications and litigates on both the plaintiff and defense sides of IP disputes. These days, about 60% is technology-related and 40% is focused on entertainment.
The common ground is Lomnitzer’s unyielding respect for ideas. She keeps a poster of Albert Einstein on her wall to remind her why that matters.
“Einstein was the king of ideas,” she says. “I do this so people can protect their creations and to run their small businesses with dignity and a sense of security.”
A Few of Her Favorite Tunes
Lomnitzer’s favorite songs
“Circles” by Post Malone “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé “That Don’t Impress Me Much” by Shania Twain