Q+A: The Fried Firm
The Fried Firm is a DUMBO-based law firm that focuses on helping local artists, creative entrepreneurs, musicians, and designers, by providing the legal counsel they need to get them to the next step. We sat down with founder Shana Fried and senior associate Benjamin Korray to learn more.
Can you tell me a little bit about the work that you do?
Shana: The Fried Firm is an entertainment and business intellectual property firm. We primarily work with creatives, whether it be individual recording artists or full service marketing companies, we work the spectrum of creative endeavors. The services we provide include business services from formation to development, to intellectual property protections (such as trademarks and copyright), to employment law, and a substantial amount of transactional work. We’re a full service boutique firm for creatives.
How did the Fried Firm get started?
Shana: I have always been interested in music and performing, but also really interested in the business. I worked in the music business after college, but didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere, which brought me to law school. I went to law school with a mohawk and not much of a care about the folks in my class. At the time, I was throwing weekly parties in New York City and DJing five nights a week, and was very heavily into the entertainment world, so via that I garnered a lot of relationships with DJs, artists, musicians. I started the Fried Firm at the end of 2013. Ben was the very first interviewee on the very first day of interviews for our very first internship, five and a half years ago [at my previous firm] and he’s been with me ever since, and we do awesome work together. It’s been fun to watch him grow from intern to senior associate.
Ben: I also have a background in music. I started playing drums when I was a kid, and it took my life in a creative, music-driven direction. Atypically, between my first and second year of law school, I decided to go on tour with a band instead of getting an internship. Through that experience of going on tour, I learned a lot about the business and about the life of a musician. It’s a passion. Music is my creative driving force in life, besides of course the law firm, which is really creative in and of itself. I love working with Shana. We’ve got this incredible balance between the two of us, we’re the yin and the yang. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful, we play off of each other really well.
Any particular highlights?
Shana: We’ve really become specialists in a lot of areas. When you say entertainment law, it’s a little misleading, people think of Ari Gold [from Entourage] like you’re an agent. While we certainly stand in our clients’ corners, our intellectual property practice is really stellar and we do incredible work with intellectual property rights and trademarks. Our corporate work is just phenomenal in the sense that we’re not a giant law firm, it’s just us and an occasional summer intern. By understanding our clients needs and the specific markets we cater to, we’ve been able to do a really good job at efficiently obtaining registrations for trademarks and copyrights and helping folks start and grow their businesses. We also pride ourselves on acting as translators. We are in the trenches with our clients - I literally ran into a client at another client’s show, and that happen’s all the time - we get it. We’re able to take our legal knowledge and translate it to plain English for them.
Can you tell me a little bit about your record label?
Shana: Through the years we’ve represented a lot of record labels, but this specific endeavor was truly the first where we’ve formed a record label (Feel Up Records) from scratch and elevated it to a relatively successful platform. We owe a lot our visibility to our partner, Jillionaire (one third of the group Major Lazer). And the law firm is so familiar with what’s required to operate a label, plus I’ve been in the music business for eighteen years. People will walk in for legal meetings, and we also have a small staff dedicated to the record label, so it’s an interesting juxtaposition. It’s a cool little melting pot of creativity where we’ve got a burgeoning record label with a burgeoning law firm, so it’s fun to simultaneously grow two businesses. It’s a dream come true.
Shana: I’ve always loved DUMBO. I used to come to parties here ten or twelve years ago when there was nothing here. I remember the first time I got off the train at York, in 2005, like “where am I?” You could’ve seen tumbleweed go by. So I’ve always had this fascination with DUMBO, there was this beautiful rawness about it. I’ve been so pleased and proud to see what’s happened since I got here. DUMBO was the professional yet fun neighborhood, so much room for opportunity, and close enough to the city. DUMBO just made sense.
Ben: I feel like DUMBO is very representative of this law firm. It has this balance of young professionalism coupled with creativity and a lot of ambition, but also this sense of laid back-ness. Whereas a lot of young professionals in the city are wearing suits and ties, the young professionals in DUMBO are wearing t-shirts and jeans but are really the true thinkers and dreamers of the city. I think this neighborhood attracted the tech hubs and creative enterprises that are going to drive us forward.
Shana: We love DUMBO and we don’t ever intend to leave.
Any favorite spots in DUMBO?>
Ben: Since we moved over to this side of the neighborhood [at 231 Front Street], we’ve discovered Los Papi’s and the Bridge Coffee Shop. They’re awesome and super affordable.
Shana: Shout out to The Lighthouse! That’s just genius and I think it’s a fantastic installment. Just watching the Archway evolve has been great.