Lee Rudnicki, Esq. - Professional Bio 2023
Lee Rudnicki, a distinguished and visionary transactional entertainment attorney, has cultivated a dynamic and multifaceted career with clients and projects that span the globe. He orchestrates and successfully concludes deals with finesse and precision, illustrating his legal acumen in entertainment law and negotiations.
Before becoming a lawyer, Lee was a world-class rudimental drummer. Personally endorsed by Pearl Drums and Zildjian Cymbals, he won the Drum Corps International World Championship in 1989 with the Santa Clara Vanguard and three DCI High Percussion Awards while pursuing a B.A. in Music Performance from San Jose State University, which he completed in 1991.
In 1995, Lee entered law school at the University of San Francisco. While there, he also completed international law studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and Trinity College School of Law in Dublin, Ireland, and earned his J.D. in 1998. Lee added a Professional Certificate in Screenwriting from UCLA to his credentials in 2007, which gave him a nuanced understanding of the creative process in Hollywood. Lee's commitment to legal education is evident through his role as an adjunct law professor at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law and as a panel attorney for California Lawyers for the Arts. Lee’s textbook, How to Pass the California Bar Exam, is currently in its 3rd edition.
In 2000, Lee's journey as an attorney started at the Silicon Valley technology company, Vividence. There he assumed the pivotal role of corporate counsel and lead technology licensing negotiator. His resourceful contributions extended to drafting a contract negotiation playbook that dramatically streamlined the review process, which enabled business affairs and sales to close large and complex deals quickly. Between 2002 and 2004, Lee was an entertainment litigator with two San Francisco firms, Idell, Berman & Seitel, and Jacobs & Ferraro, earning a reputation as a tenacious litigator on behalf of such well-known clients as Clear Channel, the San Francisco Symphony, and Bill Graham Presents.
From 2004 to 2010, Lee served as General Counsel for the Los Angeles-based sales agent and production company Eleven Arts. There, Lee drafted and negotiated contracts for numerous Japanese/American co-productions, including The Harimaya Bridge, executive produced by Danny Glover, and Haunted Highway, Junichi Suzuki’s first feature film in the U.S. Lee traveled to Japan extensively and fostered relationships with studios and investors, securing deals and helping to build an extensive library for worldwide distribution. He also represented Eleven Arts at the Cannes Film Market, helping to expand the library through strategic international co-productions and targeted theatrical releases.
From 2010 to 2018, Lee was the General Counsel for Strange Quark Films, a venture formed by a multi-national investment entity to produce media content, including the television pilot Rome14 and the film Albedo Absolute. In 2016, Lee produced the feature film Wonderwell for Strange Quark Films in Italy, starring Hollywood legend Carrie Fisher and pop star Rita Ora. Lee coordinated the production from Cinecittà in Rome, and his ability to facilitate effective communication and collaboration on the international team was instrumental in the successful production of the movie.
From 2018 through 2023, Lee was the Executive Vice President of Business Affairs at Lex and Otis Studios, an animation studio in Glendale, California. Lee contributed significantly to studio operations by providing entertainment law, finance, copyright, tax incentives, insurance, and corporate risk management expertise. Additionally, Lee served as production counsel for high-profile videogames and animated series in collaboration with Netflix and Studio Wildcard projects, including Ark: Survival Evolved, Army of the Dead, RAID, and Trese. Lee excelled in managing intellectual property matters and overseeing producers, legal personnel, HR, and support staff. Currently, Lee serves as outside counsel for Lex and Otis Studios and production counsel for the company’s various animated series.
In addition to his work as an attorney, Lee has produced films all over the world. Many of those producer credits were the result of Lee jumping up to help solve a large unforeseen problem during production. As counsel, Lee’s hands-on experience, relentless positive energy, and can-do, nothing-is-impossible attitude are invaluable to a film or television production.