Lawrence A. Waks Partner

     

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Larry Waks serves a broad range of domestic and international clients, many in the food & beverage, high tech, media and entertainment industries, on a scale that takes him across the country and around the world. His practice experience is broad-based, with particular emphasis in food & beverage, consumer product, fashion, entertainment, intellectual property, and mergers and acquisitions. Larry has a keen understanding of risk and how it is best controlled, which makes him a clear choice for clients engaged in mergers, acquisitions and other strategic transactions. In one notable example, Larry led a six-attorney team that represented the owners of Casamigos (actor George Clooney, entertainment industry giant Rande Gerber and real-estate tycoon Mike Meldman) in the sale of their famous tequila brand.

Additionally, Larry represents publishing and distribution companies and computer game, software and hardware companies. Larry also has represented oil and gas companies in private practice and while serving as assistant general counsel of Tesoro Petroleum Corp.

Based in the firm’s Dallas office, Larry frequently works from our Los Angeles, New York and Miami offices, and he is integral to our expansion into Austin, where he serves a number of long-time clients and maintains a residence and active involvement in the community.

Larry joined the firm in 2015, recognizing the potential for a formidable practice that could leverage the advantages of a firm with a national footprint that has made substantial inroads in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Fluent in Spanish, French and Russian, Larry envisioned a powerhouse legal team able to go where the key players are and handle inbound or overseas transactions and litigation. Wilson Elser’s cross-practice team model supports these opportunities and expands the services Larry can provide.

Areas of Focus

Intellectual Property
Larry’s IP-based practice model relies on a balance of litigation and transactional work directed toward media and entertainment, food & beverage, consumer products, technology, fashion and publishing. From copyrights and trademarks to patents and trade secrets, he operates at the intersection of corporate law and litigation, state-of-the-art science and regulatory experience to advance clients’ most ambitious intellectual property objectives. Larry has substantial experience representing record companies, publishing companies, film studios and producers, video game companies, advertising and public relations companies, artists, bands, songwriters, screenwriters, industry trade groups, merchandising companies, broadcasters, cable network content companies, and print media throughout the United States and in foreign countries in litigation and transactional matters. He has handled lawsuits involving antipiracy, anti-bootlegging, and other intellectual property issues, including copyrights, trade secrets, and trademark disputes, in addition to libel and privacy matters. On the transactional side, Larry has negotiated a variety of agreements with record labels, film studios and production companies, fashion businesses, publishing companies, content providers, cable networks and advertisers, among others.

Mergers & Acquisitions
Against a backdrop of marketplace complexity and uncertainty, Larry brings sophisticated judgment and advice in structuring acquisitions, sales, joint ventures, mergers and other strategic alliances. Larry focuses on maximizing value for clients while bringing his wealth of experience to bear in identifying and efficiently addressing risk. He partners with clients to clarify their goals, structure deals, negotiate terms and achieve transaction objectives while helping to ensure the enforceability of acquisition or divestiture agreements. His M&A clients include a broad range of domestic and international entities in numerous industries, including manufacturing, explosives, energy, consumer goods, food & beverage, health care, technology, and media and entertainment. Larry has represented his clients’ interests in the area of international business and trade. His experience also includes cross-border (in- and out-bound) mergers and acquisitions, licensing and joint ventures.

Entertainment Law
Larry’s Entertainment Law practice represents a variety of related industries, including film, television, radio, music recording, publishing, theater and sports, in issues such as intellectual property, agency, contracts, and labor and employment. During his more than 35 years in practice, Larry has played an instrumental role in Austin’s emergence as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and in Texas’s status as a “Third Coast” destination for film and television production. As counsel for the University of Texas Film Institute and Burnt Orange Films, Larry established a first-of-its-kind public/private partnership to create and support a university-based commercial film production company.

International Experience
Formerly a partner with Milgrim, Thomajan & Lee, P.C. in New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Larry also represents clients’ interests in the area of international business and trade. His experience includes international contract and dispute negotiation, licenses, joint ventures, and distribution agreements, and arbitration. He is particularly familiar with the financial and business markets of South America, where he lived for several years, and France. Larry has developed substantial experience in international litigation and arbitration involving rights to intellectual property including anti-counterfeiting, trade secrets, patents, copyright and trademark disputes, and disputes over licensing, publishing and distribution rights.

Representative Matters

Mergers & Acquisitions

$1 billion+ sale; led a six-attorney team representing owners of tequila brand Casamigos (actor George Clooney, entertainment industry giant Rande Gerber and real-estate tycoon Mike Meldman) in a deal with beverage company Diageo

$100 million sale of sauce manufacturer to McCormick & Company

$1 billion going-private sale of medical products company to Blackstone, including simultaneous acquisitions and refinancing

$400 million sale of high tech/defense company to Carlisle Group

$44 million stock swap acquisition of UK/French media company

Multiple acquisitions and sales of businesses in excess of $2 billion in all facets of the Energy Industry from exploration and production to refining, marketing and transportation