Representing longtime clients like Steven Tyler, of the band Aerosmith, and newer artists such as deadmau5, and solving complex legal and business issues relating to contracts and copyright law is all in a day’s work for Dina LaPolt ’90 (Music).
LaPolt, who was named one of this year’s power lawyers by The Hollywood Reporter, owns and operates LaPolt Law, P.C., a boutique transactional entertainment law firm in West Hollywood, Calif. The firm specializes in representing recording artists, songwriters, producers, musicians, authors, writers, photographers and actors.
LaPolt, whose love for music began in high school, credits her participation in running the College’s Concert Committee, then called Jedi Productions, for helping to further develop her career interest in music.
“I produced numerous concerts while at New Paltz, including the 1989 show featuring Joan Jett & the Blackhearts,” said LaPolt. “The experience taught me to never compromise your passion or what you want to do with your life.”
Prior to becoming an attorney, LaPolt was a musician and served as talent buyer/concert promoter and a personal manager, all of which, she says, have allowed her to bring a unique insight to the practice of law.
“When I was a musician, I was very focused on being able to support myself with my music. I never chose another path even when others tried to convince me to have a backup plan I could “fall back on.” I never paid attention to anyone’s doubts and I threw all my eggs in one basket.”
She added, “Thank God I did that! Had I not focused solely on music, I would never been exposed to the music business and that is where I had my epiphany! When I started out as a musician, it never dawned on me that the business side of music was a viable career—as soon as I understood this, I started focusing on the business rather than trying to make it as a musician. I would have never gotten into music law if I hadn’t had the life experience of being a musician and an artist.”
In addition to practicing law, LaPolt serves as one of the attorney advisors to the Grammys Creator’s Alliance and is an activist for creators and celebrities in the areas of privacy, copyright and fairness in radio. She also teaches a class titled “Legal and Practical Aspects of the Music Business” at the UCLA Extension Program and served as the editor of Building Your Artist’s Brand as a Business, published by the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers in 2012.