• Thomas R. Leavens Award for distinguished service by Lawyers for the Creative Arts, inaugural recipient
  • David C. Hilliard Award for outstanding committee service to the legal profession and community by the Chicago Bar Association
  • Chambers USA, Media & Entertainment: Transactional (Band 1)
  • Best Lawyers, Chicago Entertainment Law – Music Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • Best Lawyers, Chicago Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures & Television, Lawyer of the Year, 2014
  • Best Lawyers, Chicago Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures & Television since 2012
  • Best Lawyers, Chicago Entertainment Law – Music since 2012
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, 2014-2018
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Thomas R. Leavens

Tom Leavens focuses his practice in entertainment, intellectual property and new media law. His legal career spans nearly four decades as both a founding partner at Leavens Strand & Glover and as in-house counsel for media and recording companies. Tom has worked with clients in all areas of the performing, visual and literary arts to manage and protect intellectual property rights in transactions and in litigation.

He has continually adapted his practice to meet the demands of the evolving business environment in the entertainment sector. He served as General Counsel of Platinum Entertainment, a public company which at one point was the largest U.S.-based independent record company. Tom was also the General Counsel for MusicNow LLC, a pioneering digital music company that commercially launched a subscription music service, webcasting and the sale of music downloads in 2002, and General Counsel for LRSmedia, LLC, a television production and brand development company. Today he counsels producers, artists, distributors and content users on maximizing opportunities as they arise and uncovering value in transactions while continuing to protect relationships with their audiences.

Tom has served as executive producer for numerous successful sound recording and television projects, including 16 House of Blues: Essential Blues recordings. His well-regarded practical guide, Music Law for the General Practitioner, was published by the American Bar Association in 2013.

Esteemed by his peers, he was the inaugural recipient of the Thomas R. Leavens Award, presented by Lawyers for the Creative Arts. The annual award is now an honor for lawyers who support the arts in Chicago through service with LCA. Tom is a frequent speaker and lecturer on business aspects of the entertainment industry, and has served as an expert witness in disputes in the sector.


  • Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1975
  • University of Michigan, A.B., cum laude, 1970



Tom is an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. He is an Associate with The Henry Lydiate Partnership, the premier creative arts business consultancy in the United Kingdom.


  • Illinois
  • Utah
  • Michigan (Inactive)


  • 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


  • Board of Directors and Secretary, Digital Media Association
  • Voting Member, The Recording Academy (GRAMMYs)
  • National Recording Preservation Board, Library of Congress
  • Board of Managers, Chicago Bar Association
  • Authors Guild
  • Honors Council, Lawyers for the Creative Arts