We are so proud of what our Loeb alumni have accomplished since they left the firm, and we hope that Loeb Reconnected will help you get to know your fellow alumni on a deeper level.
This Q&A features Nathalie Russell, who was a member of Loeb’s Litigation department from September 2018 to August 2021.
In 2021, I joined Spotify’s rapidly growing Original Content legal team. In this role, I provide production legal support to Spotify’s internal studios Gimlet, The Ringer and Spotify Live. I work closely with Spotify’s production teams to answer copyright, trademark and other rights-related questions, vet Spotify original podcast and video content for defamation, privacy, and copyright concerns, and draft licenses and composer, talent and production services agreements. I also manage the chain-of-title review and derivative rights analysis process for Spotify Pictures, which licenses Spotify content to film and television studios for adaptation. Additionally, I work closely with Spotify’s Litigation team to assess and protect against claims arising from Spotify’s Original and Exclusive content, and with Spotify’s Label Licensing and Publishing teams to ensure that music use in Spotify original content is consistent with Spotify label and PRO agreements.
Is there anything you learned at Loeb that you’ve taken with you to your current role or any of the other roles you’ve had?
I joined Loeb as a first-year associate after law school, so my years at Loeb were extremely formative in developing my legal toolkit. With the guidance of fantastic partners and fellow associates, I learned the nuts and bolts of litigation procedure and strategy. This knowledge is extremely helpful in anticipating the thought process of potential claimants as well as the practical risks posed by potential claims, such as exposure to discovery.
I was fortunate to work on incredibly fun and interesting cases during my time at Loeb, including Pickett v. Migos (“Walk It Talk It” ft. Drake) with Tal Dickstein and Barry Slotnick, Abdin v. CBS (Star Trek Discovery) with Wook Hwang and Jonathan Zavin, and Irish Rover Ent. v. Sims (Stranger Things) with Dave Grossman, to name a few. These cases solidified my understanding of the landscape of 2nd and 9th Circuit copyright case law and crystallized the importance of writing clearly, succinctly and persuasively. I use this training daily across all aspects of my current role.
While I arrived at Loeb with a background in IP and copyright law, I was not only given the opportunity to deepen that knowledge and understanding, spending long hours researching and discussing the most interesting nuances of copyright (especially termination) and other areas of law, but was also taught how to present that information in a format useful to clients. This is an essential skill that I use and continue to develop in delivering legal advice to creative and business colleagues at Spotify.
Can you share a specific Loeb memory that you are fond of? It can be a person, a place, an occurrence, etc.
I have so many great memories from my time at Loeb! One memory in particular was during an expert musicologist deposition. Tal Dickstein and I identified an inconsistency in the musicologist’s expert report and, thanks to my ability to read music, Tal gave me the opportunity to lead a few minutes of questioning, during which the expert admitted the inconsistency. Another great memory was traveling to Los Angeles to observe Wook Hwang argue before the 9th Circuit and to attend Loeb's annual IP/Entertainment Conference, where Guillermo del Toro explained why removing part of his film Shape of Water would change the character of the film’s protagonist. Applying this perspective to VidAngel and related case law concerning “sanitizing” and modifying creative works made for lively discussion both during and after the panel. Engaging with the practical implications of copyright law has been helpful when working with creative teams at Spotify, who appreciate that copyright law is informed by the creative process and fundamentally designed to protect original creation.
What did you like most about working at Loeb?
I loved getting to work on matters for clients that were both household names and at the forefront of IP law, but I most appreciated the people I worked with at Loeb! I will be forever grateful to everyone who welcomed, taught and mentored me throughout my years at Loeb (and to this day!). From my first days sharing an office with Noah Weingarten, colleagues quickly became friends. I truly felt that the partners I worked with were invested in my development – as a lawyer, writer and thinker, and in terms of my professional and personal goals. Chris Carbone knew I was a fellow musician, and not only made the time to mentor me through an incredible pro bono learning opportunity representing a young cellist, but he also invited me to join the new community orchestra that he was a part of (The New Conductor’s Orchestra). Additionally, partner Jonathan Zavin invited the entire department to his house for dinner each year. Loeb has a special culture that promotes both caring about work and one’s colleagues.
What does being a part of Loeb Reconnected, Loeb’s alumni community, mean to you?
Loeb Reconnected seems like a great way to sustain and strengthen ties to the Loeb community. I am confident that I will continue working with my former Loeb colleagues, and will maintain the friendships and relationships I formed at Loeb for years to come. I also look forward to meeting and forming new connections with other fellow Loeb alumni.