Leslie José Zigel is a shareholder and Chair of Greenspoon Marder’s Entertainment Practice. Mr. Zigel focuses on both the creative and business sides of the entertainment industries in the music, television, film and new technology sectors. His practice includes counseling clients in entertainment talent negotiations, record contracts, music and book publishing, providing outside general counsel services and assisting companies with corporate structuring, financing, operations, sales and acquisitions, trademarks, copyrights and employment advice.
As one of the entertainment industry’s most respected attorneys, Leslie José Zigel’s ability to improvise and collaborate yields a harmony of its own. “My whole approach is very collaborative,” says the Miami-based attorney. “I always try to understand how the other side works in order to structure the best possible deal for my client. In any deal or agreement, you want both parties to benefit, because the relationship will last that way and success begets repeated success. Every day as an attorney you face a new set of challenges, so it’s really about improvisation—just like music is.”
Music is what ultimately drew Leslie to both his chosen profession as well as his passion project—jamming with his Miami-based Grateful Dead cover band, Los Muertos, and other musician friends. Born to classical and opera enthusiast doctors, he fell in love with classic rock and started playing percussion, piano and saxophone at a very young age. By eleventh grade, he had immersed himself in bass guitar.
Graduating from University of Rochester (with an interdisciplinary degree between the liberal arts school and the Eastman School of Music) cum laude and relocating to New York City, he began his career at Festival Productions Inc. In addition to serving as a producer for festivals such as Newport Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and Playboy Jazz Festival, he spearheaded the launch of American Express Platinum Card’s prestigious “By Invitation Only” program and served as the Marketing Director for the American Express Gold Card Events. Following a decade in the music business, he graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1995 where he served as Editor-in-Chief of UM’s Inter-American Law Review.
“I branched out and defined myself as a multimedia entertainment attorney from day one,” he says. “It was important for me to be as adaptable as possible.”
One year following graduation, Leslie joined BMG US Latin as Director of Business and Legal Affairs and was later promoted to VP, Business and Legal Affairs for the Latin American Region. As the industry changed with the advent of digital media and online file sharing, he stood at the forefront of the progression.
In 2006, Leslie branched out with his own firm ZIGLAW. As the principal and founder, he achieved accolades such as receiving Martindale-Hubbell’s “AV” Preeminent Rating and being named among Billboard Magazine’s “Super Lawyers, 50 Attorneys of Note in the Music Biz, 2014,” Best Lawyers In America 2008-2015, American Registry’s “Top Attorneys in Florida” 2011-2014, and more. He would also receive mentions in Bloomberg Businessweek, Miami Herald, and Rochester Review and make multiple expert appearances on both Univision and Telemundo.
Representing artists, media companies, and executives, his current clients include numerous international pop musicians, and business clients Endemol Shine Latino, Peace Love World, Zumba, and Terra.com, to name a few. Notably, he has orchestrated partnerships for his clients with major soda brands, beer brands, and structured equity ownership deals with restaurant chains, vodka and sake brands. Continuing to tenaciously expand his clients’ brands, 2015 saw him become partner at Greenspoon Marder and the firm’s Chair of Entertainment Law.
“What I want people to take away from working with me is that I’m dedicated to representing clients at the highest level,” he leaves off. “You have one reputation, and you have to continually foster it. I strive to not only get the best deals for my clients, but the right deals that lead to long-term success for them and their business partners.”