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Literary Publishing: Where the Roles of Lawyers and Agents Intersect

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: July 28, 2020
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        • Lawyers Duties
        • Model Rules
                - Competency
                - Confidentiality
                - Rule 1.2
                - Conflicts
        • Agent's Duties
                - Fiduciary Duty
                - Canon of Ethics
        • Q & A

Runtime: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Recorded: July 28, 2020


Lawyers and agents both play important roles for clients interested in publishing, marketing, selling, or licensing their works. This panel will discuss the role agents and lawyers play in negotiating deals for their clients and the legal limitations of those interactions. It will also discuss the differences between agents and lawyers and their roles in literary publishing, how and where those roles overlap, and the industry norms and regulations that guide and shape them. Additionally, it will discuss how lawyers and agents can work together to best serve their publishing clients.

This program was recorded on July 28th, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Jonathan Lyons

Lyons & Salky Law, LLP

Jonathan Lyons provides counseling to clients in all areas of the media industry, with an emphasis on publishing, copyright, podcasts, employment, and merchandising. His practice includes the representation of authors, artists, publishers, estates, and agents regarding publishing and copyright matters; negotiation of employment agreements for print and broadcast journalists, agents, and publishing executives; counseling to publishers and magazines regarding their intellectual property and business affairs; and neutral arbitration and mediation services for intellectual property disputes. Jonathan has developed a particular expertise in complex and cutting edge transactions in the digital and audio media space.

Jonathan is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Master of Science in Publishing Program, where he teaches a course on contract negotiation. Separately, Jonathan is also a literary agent and Vice President at Curtis Brown, one of the most venerable and prominent literary agencies in the world, where he represents writers in a variety of genres. He has also previously served as Chair for the Contracts Committee of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.

Jonathan received his degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. At Cardozo he focused on intellectual property law and was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, for which he received the Jacob Burns Medal for Outstanding Moot Court Achievement. Jonathan oversaw the literary law practice group at Savur Threadgold LLP prior to founding Lyons & Salky Law, LLP.

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Wendy Strothman

The Strothman Agency

Wendy Strothman has long been an advocate for authors and freedom of expression. Before starting the Strothman Agency, Wendy was the Publisher of Trade & Reference books at Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and the Publisher at Beacon Press.

At Houghton Mifflin, Wendy acquired and edited books by key authors, including Philip Roth, John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Paul Theroux, and James Carroll. She also vigorously pursued the defense in the lawsuit brought by the Margaret Mitchell estate to block publication of Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone, a parody of Gone with the Wind.

Wendy’s efforts to publish books at the highest standards led the company to receive more literary awards than at any time in its history--two Pulitzer Prizes, one National Book Award, three Caldecott Medals, and two Newbery Medals, among many other honors- and led to the company’s greatest period of growth and recognition.

From 1983 to 1995, Wendy headed Beacon Press, a Boston publisher founded in 1854. She published two New York Times bestsellers (Cornel West’s Race Matters and Marian Wright Edelman’s The Measure of Our Success) and one National Book Award winner.

Wendy began her career in 1972 at the University of Chicago Press where she launched the Critical Edition of the Works of Giuseppe Verdi.

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Cheryl Davis

General Counsel
The Authors Guild

Cheryl L. Davis is the General Counsel of the Authors Guild. She is a former partner at the firm of Menaker & Herrmann LLP, a general commercial practice firm in New York City. She is a litigator who concentrates in intellectual property matters (particularly copyright and trademark cases), employment, and real estate/construction related matters. She has counseled architects and design professionals on how to protect their intellectual property, and has made multiple industry presentations on the topic. She is also a co-author of Law for Architects: What You Need to Know.

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