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Hrbek Kunstler. Where Art and Business Meet.

As a creative professional, a cannabis industry, media or other entrepreneur who wants to focus on the operational, creative and business development side of your company, selecting the right lawyer is the first of many important decisions that you have to make. At Hrbek Kunstler, we have the experience and the commitment to protect your interests as you grow your business, expand your reach and develop new revenue streams.

Entertainment clients - The firm represents media clients across platforms, with particular expertise in servicing the independent sector of the market in multimedia deals to maximize the value of content. Whether it's book-to-film or film-to-book, animation character-to-game and other creative merchandizing opportunities, podcast production and distribution, licensing of music, paintings or fine art photography, spokesperson/influencer deals, collaboration between creative professionals and talent from different across genres and media platforms, Hrbek Kunstler can help.

NY Cannabis businesses - Margaret Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek are established voices in regulatory compliance in the fast-changing environment of marijuana business licensing in New York State. The firm advises cannabis industry clients on risk management issues so that they can take advantage of expanding opportunities in New York - advising clients on NY marijuana regulations and helping them get ready to apply for New York cannabis licenses under the MRTA. They are co-founders of NY Cannabar, an interdisciplinary organization that advocated for the decriminalization of drugs and helped advance New York's medical marijuana laws.

AML compliance - The partners are well-versed in the emerging area of anti-money laundering regulations that apply to fine art industry transactions and beyond, and help gallerists, dealers and other art market participants comply with international AML regulations and best practices. Art galleries, auction houses and art dealers consult with the firm so that they can participate in the global art market. Sanctions and KYC "know-your-customer" searches are offered to Hrbek Kunstler clients to help art galleries, law firms, accountants and "risky businesses" satisfy basic due diligence obligations. Industry players who want to minimize risks associated with international wire transfers, accepting cryptocurrency, and other unusually large, international and/or otherwise non-traditional financial transactions can rest easy and move forward with their work, while Hrbek Kunstler handles their risk management and regulatory concerns. Margaret Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek are co-founders of Art Sales Vault, a revolutionary fin-tech KYC portal that streamlines and takes the headache out of anti-money laundering and other regulatory compliance issues that art industry professionals are increasingly having to grapple with.

Hrbek Kunstler clients are successful and growing independent media companies, New York cannabis industry entrepreneurs, art galleries and creative professionals on the cutting edge of exciting developments in the merging worlds of entertainment, media and technology. Our clients have brought Hrbek Kunstler onto their team so that they can focus on the development of their business, secure in the knowledge that they are protected.

Contact Hrbek Kunstler now to schedule a consultation.

Media Law

HRBEKKunstler represents independent artists and media companies, including publishers, TV producers, podcasters, digital news publications, filmmakers, writers, photographers, animation companies and other content creators, painters, art galleries, independent record labels, app developers, literary and talent agents, marketing and brand developers and more. Regardless of the type of deal at issue, our New York entertainment attorneys work with you to ensure that your objectives are met in your agreements before you sign.

More often than not, standard form cookie-cutter contracts do not reflect your business model, professionalism and values. We understand that first impressions are important and your written agreements say a lot about your brand. HRBEKKunstler crafts contracts to make certain that they represent who you are and resonate well with the people you want to do business with. We negotiate and draft customized artist agreements, publishing contracts, partnership and collaboration agreements, development deals, master service agreements, endorsement and sponsorship deals, option agreements, attachment agreements, composer agreements, performer agreements, venue agreements, co-production deals, director agreements, NDAs, various types of releases, and sales agent agreements and more.

  • Keeping Ownership of Your Work. We will make sure you don't give away any more of your rights than are necessary to seal the deal.
  • Explaining the Terms of the Contract. We will review the written agreement with you line-by-line to ensure that you understand exactly what it says, and carefully consider the implications of the contract terms, before you sign.
  • Maximizing Your Creative Opportunities. We will suggest alternative contract terms that align with your career goals, especially as they relate to financial reward, exposure and creative control.
  • Protecting Your Creative Freedom. We will identify necessary revisions of the contract terms and draft appropriate additional language to meet your unique needs.
  • Negotiating the Best Deal. We will revise the terms with industry attorneys on your behalf, while you continue to focus on your craft.
  • Helping you Get Started in Realizing Your Creative Vision. We will advise you on the corporate entity that is the best fit for your business, we will form the LLC or corporation for you and prepare the corporate governance documents to meet your goals and address your concerns.
  • Protecting Your Business Relationships. We will create standard form contracts tailored to your needs for your agreements with other artists, partners, investors, vendors and industry professionals.
Business Law

At HRBEKKunstler, we serve as general counsel to technology companies, creative business professional companies, and other startups and small businesses. Retaining us to assist you as general counsel is a cost-effective approach for a small business. We handle corporate formation and maintenance, advise on company structure, handle entity formation, draft corporate resolutions, advise on compliance with rules of corporate governance, draft agreements and provide guidance and advice on matters of business law. We have experience representing clients on both sides of the deal. For example, when handling a software license agreement, the software company may be concerned about ownership of the source code, confidentiality, and making sure they get paid. The software purchaser may be concerned about the software meeting their actual business needs, virus protection, performance milestones and approval rights. Both parties will be concerned about a clear scope of work and clearly defined deliverables and timelines.


Litigation can pose a significant threat to media companies, whether the litigation involves allegations of copyright infringement or libel. It is crucial to work with entertainment attorneys in New York who understand the law that applies in this niche. While HRBEKKunstler collaborates with litigators who specialize in intellectual property, First Amendment, defamation, and cutting-edge technology and contractual cases, we help our clients resolve disputes outside of court wherever possible.

There are various methods by which a dispute may be resolved. Litigation is one method. However, mediation and collaborative law provide alternative forms of dispute resolution that can save you time and money, and preserve greater cordiality than does litigation. Mediation and collaborative law proceedings can be used for arts industry-related disputes as well as family law disputes. Courts strongly favor mediation as a dispute resolution method. In mediation, a neutral third party, known as a mediator, tries to help the parties communicate and reach a solution that both parties find satisfactory. The mediator does not decide the dispute, but she facilitates communication that can help the parties reach an amicable resolution. Deborah Hrbek has considerable experience in mediating arts disputes, partner and other general business disputes and family disputes.

If there is a notable power imbalance between the parties, they may need separate representation. In that case, it may be appropriate to pursue a resolution through the collaborative law process. When using a collaborative law approach, our lawyer will work with you to resolve your dispute, but the opposing party must retain and work with a lawyer from another firm. Collaborative law helps the parties try to negotiate a settlement that is as favorable as possible to all parties.

Cannabis Law

HRBEKKunstler has been on the frontlines of the movement to legalize cannabis, dating back to medical marijuana’s legalization in New York through the Compassionate Care Act. We can advise and represent you in connection with regulatory, due diligence, and risk management concerns. In addition to representing entrepreneurs and investors involved in the legal cannabis and hemp industry, dispensary license applicants, cannabis rights advocates, and CBD business owners, we also represent clients who need assistance with contracts and corporate legal work. Laws that govern this area in New York include the Compassionate Care Act and Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act.

We can advise you on licensing and registration, business formation, corporate and commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, financing deals, real estate matters, IP protection and branding, employment matters, licensing agreements, privacy matters, and vendor or ancillary business contracts. Our principal, Deborah Hrbek, was Secretary of the NYCLA Drug Policy Task Force and co-authored the committee’s groundbreaking 1996 report.

Consult an Experienced Entertainment Lawyer in New York

Whether you are an artist concerned about licensing your work or a film studio that wants to preserve as many rights as possible in a film, you should consult HRBEKKunstler. Unlike many other firms in this area, we encourage innovation and experimentation with emerging business models. We maintain a high standard of integrity and foster transparency in business dealings. We represent clients in New York City and around the world when they are doing business in New York themselves, or working with a New York company. Call us at (212) 480-2400 or contact us via our online form.

That’s Entertainment Law

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Client Reviews
"Deborah is smart, pragmatic and forthright" Townes, Filmmaker.
"Deborah has the unique ability to present an 'ask' in a way that is undeniably clear and justified. She has fundamentally changed the way I approach my valuation in the industry by removing the 'cringe factor' from discussions around compensation. She brings a charming touch of grace to negotiations representing my company's value and supporting its reputation while simultaneously securing fair and equitable compensation. Don, TV Producer / Showrunner.
"Deborah made a confusing and painful process understandable and linear. We could not have asked for a better lawyer." Podcast Production Team.
"Deborah makes reviewing legal documents so easy. I know she always has my best interests at heart. It's a pleasure working with her." Melissa, Executive Director of artist not-for-profit organization.
"Deborah is simply amazing. She is a master at protecting her clients. She will protect you and always have your back. I am so lucky to have found her." Warren, TV Series Writer & Creator.
Contact Us
  1. 1 Flat Fee Consultation
  2. 2 Meeting Locations in Manhattan & Brooklyn
  3. 3 Phone or Web-Conference Appointments Available

Fill out the contact form or call us at (212) 480-2400 to schedule your consultation.