Tom is a partner in Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC. Tom’s career as an attorney has involved transactions, counseling, and litigation in all areas of performing, visual, and literary expression, new media, intellectual property, and technology.
Prior to forming Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC, Tom was General Counsel for LRSmedia, LLC, a media production and brand development company, whose initial project was the PBS television series LEGENDS OF JAZZ with Ramsey Lewis. His responsibilities there included general business management, development of business models, artist and other talent agreements, publishing and record company clearance, distribution agreements, business development, union agreements, and intellectual property protection. Prior to joining LRS, Tom was General Counsel for MusicNow LLC, a pioneer digital music company that commercially launched a subscription music service, webcasting, and the sale of music downloads in 2002.
Tom has also served as General Counsel and Senior Executive Vice President of Platinum Entertainment, Inc., a public company which grew from its formation in 1992 to become at one point the largest US-based independent record company. While there he also served as executive producer of various recording and television projects, and compiled and produced 16 House of Blues Essential Blues recordings released by the company under its joint venture with HOB Entertainment. Prior to Platinum Tom was a partner with the law firm McBride, Baker & Coles in Chicago, where he chaired the firm's intellectual property department.
Tom was the first recipient of the Thomas R. Leavens Award, presented by Lawyers For The Creative Arts, for contributions to law and the arts in Chicago, was the recipient of the David C. Hilliard Award, presented by the Chicago Bar Association for Outstanding Committee Service to the Legal Profession and Community, and has served as an elected member of the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association, the Board of Directors of the Digital Media Association, and the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Tom is also an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University School of Law and at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, an Associate with The Henry Lydiate Partnership in London, the premiere arts consultancy in the UK, a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Authors Guild. Tom has also served as an expert witness in litigation concerning issues pertaining to the music industry. Tom has also received the highest AV Peer Review Rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, is included in The Best Lawyers in America, and is ranked in Band 1 in Media & Entertainment: Transactional by Chambers and Partners.
Tom is the author of the book MUSIC LAW FOR GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, published by the American Bar Association in 2013.
Due Diligence Investigations of Entertainment Assets
Entertainment Financing Arrangements
Literary Publishing Agreements
Management and Talent Agreements
Music Publishing Agreements
New Media and Digital Distribution
Rights Acquisitions and Clearance
Television and Motion Picture Production Agreements
Theater Production Agreements
Touring and Personal Appearance Agreements
Website Development and Operational Matters
University of Michigan, A.B, cum laude, 1970
Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1975 – Law Review
Illinois Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
(General Bar and Trial Bar)
Name of School: Northwestern University School of Law
Name of Course: Structuring Transactions: Music Law
Semester (Summer, Fall, etc.): Fall
Course Description: Introduces students to the legal and business aspects of the music industry, focusing on how value is created in music entertainment properties (copyrights, trademarks, identity rights, contractual rights, and data) and how transactions involving those properties are structured. Business areas studied will include recording and music publishing agreements, management and agency relationships, licensing, merchandising, distribution, touring, sponsorship, and the developing areas of digital music.