The 13 leading attorneys and law firms that work with digital creators and influencers

top attorneys that work with influencers 2x1

Summary List Placement

Social-media influencers have become big businesses. 

Influencer marketing alone is projected to grow into a $15 billion industry next year. And digital creators are branching out into other revenue streams to make money.

Internet stars like Emma Chamberlain and Charli D’Amelio are launching direct-to-consumer product lines. Other creators are licensing their name and image to toy makers or negotiating deals with Netflix

As digital creators eat up more attention in entertainment, law firms that once focused on representing TV and movie stars are now chasing after YouTubers and TikTokers.

“These clients are so multi-hyphenate, they’re involved in so many different things,” said Ryan Pastorek, an attorney at the law firm Hansen Jacobson, which represents Chamberlain and other top YouTube creators like Lilly Singh and Rhett & Link. “Each talent for the most part in this particular world is its own brand. And so from a brand perspective, you’re building that out on a lot of different fronts, and all of these folks are marketing wizards.”

Working with internet stars poses challenges. 

Like traditional-media talent, social-media influencers rely on their lawyers and managers to avoid getting wrapped up in overly restrictive contracts. One area of negotiation is a “morals clause,” which allows a brand or other business partner to walk away from a deal if an influencer’s reputation is tarnished. Some image-conscious influencers demand a similar right if the brand they’re working with gets bad press, according to Allison Fitzpatrick, a lawyer at Davis & Gilbert who works on influencer deals.

The Federal Trade Commission requires advertising and sponsored content to be disclosed, and lawyers help their influencer clients avoid breaking the rules. They also ensure that their creator clients don’t give up the rights to photos, songs, videos, podcasts, fashion designs and other intellectual property that they create — or at least help ensure that clients know what they’re getting into.

Marketing to children, which many influencers do, also has unique legal risks. For example, the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act puts limits on collecting information from children under 13.

To better understand how influencers are transforming entertainment law, Insider compiled a list of the leading law firms that represent digital creators across YouTube, Instagram, and other social-media platforms. We gathered nominations from readers and spoke to professionals in the influencer and legal industries, considering factors like a firm’s clients, their deal list, and their reputation among talent managers and agents.

The top 13 law firms are listed in alphabetical order:

Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson: Ashley Silver

Ashley Silver got her start at a traditional Hollywood law firm, Bloom Hergott. But when that firm broke up amid a bruising fight with Johnny Depp, Silver and her colleagues launched their own firm, Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson, where she has built what she calls a “one-stop shop” for talent with a major presence both online and offline.

Silver said influencer clients have to act fast to build and monetize their brands, whether it’s by starting a makeup, skincare, or clothing line or by making a lucrative move to traditional media. She said she helps clients protect their brands and ownership of their content while negotiating endorsement, collaboration, and licensing deals.

One major company often inserts “a small little clause in [its contracts] that says you cannot be seen in public buying a competitor brand,” Silver said as an example of one thing she looks out for. “Absolutely not. My client has to be able to go out to CVS and buy toothpaste without breaching a contract.”

Her deals have included representing Tabitha Brown, known for her culinary and lifestyle videos, in the launch of a haircare line and in a deal with Orro, a liquid “mini-meal.” She also represented Jackie Aina in connection with the launch of her line FORVR Mood.

Her clients include: Tabitha Brown (4.7 million followers on TikTok), Desi Perkins (4.3 million followers on Instagram), Sam & Colby (4.9 million subscribers on YouTube), Jackie Aina (3.6 million subscribers on YouTube), Claudia Sulewski (2.4 million subscribers on YouTube), Shayla Mitchell (2.7 million followers on Instagram) and Nabela Noor (1.7 million followers on Instagram).

Fenwick & West: Vejay Lalla

Vejay Lalla is the industry colead in the digital media and entertainment, consumer technologies, and retail practice at Fenwick & West. 

Lalla’s team worked on the launch of Animal Capital, a venture capital firm cofounded by TikTok influencers Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, and Noah Beck. Fenwick supported influencer Arielle Charnas and her brand Something Navy on talent and endorsement deals and building Something Navy’s curated marketplace. And the firm also worked with gamer-training platform Statespace to set up deals with Twitch streamers KingGeorge, SypherPK, and Valkia.

“You’re seeing this very different and growing strategy with talent where they’re not only leveraging their traditional name and likeness in the context of media entertainment and social and digital channels,” Lalla told Insider. “You are seeing this trend with influencers not only farming out their name and likeness rights in traditional entertainment deals, but becoming investors or advisors at companies.” 

Fenwick’s clients include: Arielle Charnas (1.3 million Instagram followers) and Animal Capital.

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz: Marcie Cleary

Frankfurt Kurnit is known for serving clients in media and entertainment. Marcie Cleary has worked with a wide range of clients, including actors, writers, directors, and producers, in streaming, publishing, and television and film deals. She also advises influencers and creators on their brand endorsements and traditional-media engagements.

One of Cleary’s busiest niches has been advising podcast creators and talent in the negotiation of their distribution deals, host agreements, and other contracts. She said she represented Kid Fury and Crissle West in connection with their podcast “The Read” and JJ Redick, of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, for his podcast, “The Old Man and the Three.”

“Legally, it used to be the wild, wild West,” Cleary said of podcasting. “Now, there are norms” around things like revenue splits, talent fees, monetization, and ownership of an episode and intellectual property.

Her clients include: Jeff Wright (@jeffrightnow, 2.5 million followers on TikTok), Dan and Riya (2.6 million YouTube subscribers), Crissle West (228,000 followers on Twitter), JJ Redick (241,000 YouTube subscribers) and Desus and Mero (Showtime hosts who got their start on Twitter).

Gang Tyre Ramer Brown & Passman: Stephanie Myer

Stephanie Myer is an associate at Gang Tyre Ramer Brown & Passman, where she works on deal negotiations and legal reviews for internet stars like Doctor Mike and TikToker Brittany Broski (Brittany Tomlinson).

Before joining the firm, Myer worked as a talent management assistant at Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Myer told Insider that influencer contracts can require a greater degree of scrutiny than traditional entertainment deals.  

“In film and TV, you’ll get paperwork from a studio and it pretty much looks the same every time,” she said. “The biggest difference in this space is the paperwork that we’re getting and the brands and the agencies that are repping the brands that we’re working with have never been seen before. So we really have to be very meticulous about the paperwork, and there is a lot of education involved with the brand just on basic entertainment law principles.”

Myer is a graduate of the University of Southern California Law School where she studied entertainment law.

Gang Tyer’s clients include: Doctor Mike (7.14 million YouTube subscribers), Brittany Broski (Brittany Tomlinson) (6.2 million TikTok followers), Matt Steffanina (12.7 million YouTube subscribers), and Guava Juice (16.7 million YouTube subscribers). 

Gary Stiffelman

Gary Stiffelman started his own law practice last year after leaving a shareholder role at the law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Stiffelman currently works with TikTok’s biggest star, Charli D’Amelio, her sister Dixie, and parents Marc and Heidi on a variety of legal tasks, including negotiating brand deals, content licensing contracts, and building out Dixie’s music career.

Last year, he advised the family on sponsorship deals with Spotify, Morphe, Honey, and T-Mobile, as well as Dixie’s record deal with HitCo Entertainment. Stiffelman is also working with Charli and Dixie as they look to build out a custom apparel brand with Hollister. 

“Working with the D’Amelios has been an amazing experience because, as with some of my earlier clients, (Eminem, Prince, Lady Gaga, Death Row Records) we are making a lot of new precedents and paving a new path,” Stiffelman told Insider in a statement. 

Earlier in his career, Stiffelman worked on the sale of the Beatles song catalog and represented the buyer of a majority interest in Rolling Stone magazine and its related businesses.

Stiffelman’s clients include: Charli D’Amelio (115.3 million TikTok followers), Dixie D’Amelio (51.7 million TikTok followers), Marc D’Amelio (10.2 million TikTok followers), Heidi D’Amelio (9.1 million TikTok followers), and Sophia Amoruso (635,000 Instagram followers).

Greenberg Traurig: Paige Kaplan

Paige Kaplan, an associate in the Los Angeles office of Greenberg Traurig, has worked with a long roster of creators and other players in the influencer economy. She has also represented traditional television, film, and media talent in their transactions.

Kaplan’s deals have included representations of pint-sized beverage critic Leo Kelly, known on Instagram as @theshirleytempleking, with The Drew Barrymore Show, the Guinness Book of World Records, and BuzzFeed; Carianne Older (@peggyshootsfilm), a photographer, in deals with Interscope and Olivia Rodrigo and Foot Locker; and creator Kennedy Murray on Procter & Gamble’s “Widen the Screen” initiative. 

Her clients include: Outshine Talent, the social-media management company, and its creators Jay Sage (5.3 million followers on Tiktok), Parker James (7.7 million followers on TikTok), Jony Sios (1 million followers on Instagram), My Nguyen (2.8 million followers on TikTok), Coco Rocha (1.6 million followers on Instagram), Kennedy Murray (778,000 followers on TikTok) and Tati Bruening (1.5 million followers on TikTok). 

Hertz Lichtenstein Young & Polk: Carron Mitchell and Oswaldo Rossi

Hertz Lichtenstein Young & Polk is an entertainment law firm based in Los Angeles.

Attorneys Carron Mitchell and Oswaldo Rossi work with digital creators, music artists, and other entertainment talent on brand deals and other transactions. 

Many of the pair’s clients in the influencer industry focus on music, like the artist DDG who built a following on YouTube before signing a record deal with Epic Records. 

“This last year, I’ve seen a rise in the amount of influencer-type deals or endorsement deals or social-media deals because of the pandemic,” Mitchell said, noting that the cancellation of live events had a big impact on the entertainment industry as a whole. “Influencers will sometimes create brands, and we’ll do their licensing deals, getting their product in certain stores, collaborating with other brands and licensing out different rights.”

Before joining Hertz Lichtenstein, Mitchell worked in the IP and transactions group at Nixon Peabody where she coauthored a paper on influencer marketing and FTC endorsement guides with Ellie Heisler. Rossi worked at EMI Music before joining the firm in 2014.

Hertz Lichtenstein’s clients include: DDG (2.39 million YouTube subscribers), Todrick Hall (3.59 million YouTube subscribers), Johnny 2 Phones (207,000 TikTok followers), Leroy Sanchez (4.34 million YouTube subscribers), Yris Palmer (937,000 Instagram followers), and Playlist Live. 

Hansen Jacobson: Adam Kaller and Ryan Pastorek

Ryan Pastorek and Adam Kaller were traditional entertainment lawyers working with film and TV clients before they stumbled upon some of the internet’s first stars in 2010. 

“In this world, which was much like the wild wild West, we were finding our way through the dark and trying to represent these people against brand new companies who had brand new policies,” Kaller said. “The talent was suddenly some kid who was jumping on a trampoline in the midwest and now he’s a multimillionaire with an A3.”

One of Pastorek’s early clients was Perez Hilton, while Kaller worked with Dane Boedigheimer who created the web series “The Annoying Orange.” The pair built separate businesses working with digital stars before joining up together to work at their current firm, Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman, in 2015. 

Kaller and Pastorek now work with some of the internet’s biggest stars, including Emma Chamberlain, Lilly Singh, and Rhett & Link. They told Insider that they function as general counsel for influencers while also helping with business development efforts. The pair helped Chamberlain launch her coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee, and Logan Paul start a clothing line, Maverick, for example. 

Hansen Jacobson’s clients include: Emma Chamberlain (10.1 million YouTube subscribers), Markiplier (29.1 million YouTube subscribers), Jacksepticeye, Lilly Singh (14.9 million YouTube subscribers), Liza Koshy (17.7 million YouTube subscribers), Rhett & Link (around 28 million YouTube subscribers across channels), and Logan Paul (23 million YouTube subscribers).

Nixon Peabody: Ellie Heisler and Christina Chang

Ellie Heisler, a partner, and Christina Chang, an associate who Heisler calls her “right hand,” work with entertainment-industry clients from Nixon Peabody’s Los Angeles office. They have represented influencers with major fanbases, including TikTokers Addison Rae and Madi Monroe.

Heisler said she got her start licensing celebrity brands with CMG, where she interned in law school. At the time, reality TV shows like “The Girls Next Door” and “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” were exploding, and Heisler helped some stars protect their brands and generate new revenue streams, she said.

One of Heisler’s earliest clients in social media were Shaun and Mindy McKnight, whose YouTube channel CuteGirlsHairstyles was taking off.

“I was really transparent about the fact that I had no YouTube clients, but I could do these licensing deals in my sleep,” she said. “There weren’t a ton of lawyers in the space who were young, hungry, and understood some of these kinds of emerging platforms.”

Today, her practice has grown to include a mix of actors, models, and other personalities, many with large followings on social media. It also has created work for other lawyers at the firm, like when Emily Ratajkowski got sucked into the Fyre Fest bankruptcy case because of her work for the festival’s promoters.

Nixon Peabody’s clients include: Madi Monroe (15.3 million TikTok followers), Addison Rae (80.3 million TikTok followers), Emily Ratajkowski (27.4 million Instagram followers), James Charles (25.4 million YouTube subscribers), Nikita Dragun (9 million Instagram followers), Matty Matheson (1 million Instagram followers), and Anastasia Radzinskaya (Like Nastya) (over 120 million subscribers across seven YouTube channels).

Pocket.watch: Edward Kaufman

Ed Kaufman is general counsel at Pocket.watch, a kids-entertainment company that builds creator-led franchises starring child stars, including YouTube’s highest-earning creator, Ryan Kaji. Together with Pocket.watch, Kaji generated more than $200 million in retail sales from branded products in 2019, according to a family spokesperson. 

In addition to their presence on digital platforms like YouTube, Pocket.watch franchise stars have appeared on Nickelodeon shows and sold toys featuring their likenesses in stores like Walmart and Target.

As the lead attorney at Pocket.watch, Kaufman oversees all of the company’s legal matters in connection with its roster of young internet stars. 

Pocket.watch’s franchise partners include: Ryan Kaji (29.6 million YouTube subscribers), Love, Diana (5.31 million YouTube subscribers), the Onyx Family (3.34 million YouTube subscribers), and EvanTubeHD (6.9 million YouTube subscribers).

Rothenberg Mohr & Binder: Kevin Eskowitz

Like many lawyers at Rothenberg Mohr & Binder, Kevin Eskowitz has a history of representing musicians. As some singers and instrumentalists have turned success on YouTube into record deals, though, he has ridden the wave.

Eskowitz has helped clients with huge online fanbases negotiate record deals and leverage their fame around the world. He said he first realized the power of social-media fandom when he was at a Digitour event in the early 2010s.

“Kids were convulsing, crying, huddled with each other, because they were so overwhelmed with emotion because they were seeing their favorite YouTubers or whatever digital stars in person,” he said. “I remember a lightbulb clicking and handing out my business cards to all these managers.”

Eventually, those managers started calling him. The work varied widely; one day, a YouTuber who posted candy videos would reach out about a two-page, $250,000 contract they’d been offered. The next day, a “baby band” client would send along an antiquated, 70-page music-industry contract worth virtually nothing that took two months to finish negotiating.

“When you’re working in an emerging industry versus … a mature industry, things are kind of being figured out as you go,” he said. “Brands are looking to move fast because the zeitgeist in this space moves fast.”

Rothenberg Mohr & Binder’s clients include: Conan Gray (3.9 million YouTube subscribers) and Madilyn Bailey ( 8.5 million YouTube subscribers).

Russ August & Kabat: Irene Y. Lee

Irene Lee is a partner at Russ August & Kabat where she focuses on intellectual property law.

She helps digital talent protect their names, images, and content by formalizing their IP rights and negotiating and documenting deals.  

“The influencers that we are representing, some of them are still in their teens, early 20s,” Lee told Insider. “Even though these folks are really fast learners, I think there’s certain things that come with experience.”

“Their image, their reputation — that’s their commodity,” she added. 

Lee has worked with various TikTok influencers within TalentX Entertainment, including Josh Richards and Jaden Hossler, who she helped secure a trademark for his signature name, “JXDN.”

Russ August & Kabat clients include: Jaden Hossler (9.2 million TikTok followers), Josh Richards (24.9 million TikTok followers), and Rob The Original (1.3 million Instagram followers), 

Sharma Law: Anita Sharma

Anita K. Sharma is the founding managing partner at Sharma Law, an entertainment and IP law firm.

The company handles a variety of legal tasks for content creators, including brand sponsorship contracts, book deals, trademarks, and content licensing deals.

“I started in film and TV and really got into the digital space more in about 2013,” Sharma told Insider. “That was kind of the tipping point when people started to realize, ‘Whoa, these social media platforms — you can buid a business. There’s a lot of money to be made.'”

Sharma helped negotiate a contract between Nio Rooch and esports organization FaZe Clan, a content deal between YouTuber Michelle Khare and HBO Max, and helped beauty creator Brad Mondo launch a hair-care brand. 

Sharma Law clients include: Joshua Weissman (4.17 million YouTube subscribers), Brad Mondo (6.97 million YouTube subscribers), Michelle Khare (2.37 million YouTube subscribers), Marlin Chan (3.43 million YouTube subscribers), Caroline Calloway (675,000 Instagram followers), Shan Boodram (471,000 Instagram followers), and Orion Carloto (738,000 Instagram followers).

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