Minneapolis Minnesota Downtown and the Stone Arch Bridge at Sunset
Minneapolis Minnesota Downtown and the Stone Arch Bridge at Sunset (Scruggelgreen)

Fox Rothschild has added six lawyers to its entertainment law practice from Minneapolis-based Lommen Abdo.

The group, led by partner Kenneth Abdo, includes four Minneapolis lawyers—Abdo and counsel Paul Bezilla, Adam Gislason and Tim Matson—as well as counsel Bob Donnelly in New York and counsel John Simson in Washington, D.C. The team made up Lommen Abdo’s entire entertainment and intellectual property practice, Abdo said.

The Minneapolis lawyers join an office that opened at the beginning of 2016 through a merger with 82-lawyer Oppenheimer, Wolf & Donnelly. Firmwide managing partner Mark Silow said the addition of the Lommen Abdo lawyers is a testament to the firm’s successful growth in that region. 

“It makes us the top entertainment practice in Minneapolis,” Silow said. “There’s no question about that.”

Abdo said the hires put Fox Rothschild’s entertainment practice among the top nationally as well. The additions bring that group to 23 lawyers, and the Minneapolis office to 87 lawyers.

Silow said his firm began talks with the group at Lommen Abdo soon after Fox Rothschild’s merger with Oppenheimer. It was an easy introduction, he said, as many of Fox Rothschild’s existing entertainment lawyers were familiar with the Lommen Abdo group, and a number of the Minneapolis partners knew the group as well.

“We like the practice in general and Minneapolis actually has a pretty big music scene,” Silow said.

The Lommen Abdo lawyers work with clients in music, film, television, theater, media and publishing.

Abdo said he approached Fox Rothschild after the Oppenheimer merger, pointing out that the firm had entertainment lawyers on both coasts, but not in the Midwest. At the same time, he said, Abdo was seeking a national platform for his own practice. Fox has offices in many of the cities where Abdo and his team have clients, he said.

“Now they truly are coast-to-coast,” added Abdo. “A lot of people think Minneapolis is just under the snow and cold, but in fact is a vibrant community.”

Abdo said he has only ever worked at Lommen Abdo, which his father founded and where his brother is the executive vice president, so it was a difficult move but an amicable split.

Darrell Miller, chairman of the firm’s high-powered entertainment law department, said the hires create a “first-class” presence for the entertainment practice in Minneapolis. (Lommen Abdo is one of Minnesota’s largest firms.)

“This group is an ideal addition to Fox’s entertainment team because they share our philosophy of client service and our strategic approach to brand building,” Miller said in a statement.

Abdo said Fox Rothschild’s mid-market size provides the national reach while allowing his team to continue being “rational” with fees.

“In the entertainment group you have everything from very successful people to developing artists who have nothing, and you need to have a firm who can be flexible,” he said.

Robert Abdo, executive vice president of Lommen Abdo, said it was a “melancholy” separation, but there are “no hard feelings.” He said the move to Fox Rothschild is a great opportunity for the entertainment lawyers, including his brother.

“This gives them a strong presence in these [cities] even though the lawyers are going to remain in Minneapolis,” Abdo said. “We as Lommen Abdo still remain strong in the areas of litigation and the business practice itself.”

In addition to the Oppenheimer merger, Fox added six partners last summer from Minneapolis firm Lindquist & Vennum. Those partners had reached out to the firm after the merger, said Brad Keil at the time. Keil, a former leader of Oppenheimer, now serves as Fox Rothschild’s Minneapolis managing partner.