Candice Kersh

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz

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Lawyers aren't often in the limelight, especially in the arts-driven ad world, but Candice Kersh isn't your average brand of legal eagle.

Ms. Kersh has spent the past 18 years providing legal services to film, media and advertising clients including Cadbury Adams and Miller Brewing Co. She's also become one of the go-to attorneys for structuring today's branded-entertainment deals; for example, she was involved with BMW Films. As a partner at New York-based law firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, Ms. Kersh has worked with agencies big and small but has thrived on doing business with clients looking to push beyond the confines of Madison Avenue.

Jeff Hicks, president-CEO of hotshop Crispin Porter & Bogusky, says: "What's unique about Candice is her appetite for the untried and undiscovered. She has a real 'Bring it on' spirit and also a passion for helping sort through the issues and translating the solutions to other key stakeholders."

Given the embryonic but rapidly developing state of branded entertainment, legal issues abound. Regulations about product claims differ depending on whether they're featured in entertainment content or advertising content.

"There are issues that cross so many fields," Ms. Kersh says. "Intellectual property rights, right of publicity, truth in advertising and convergence, what constitutes advertising. My contribution is to look at what the creative vision is and not to say no."

The 40-something argues that a piece of entertainment might as easily come from an ad agency as from a media company and that in the eyes of the law, it shouldn't make any difference where it originates.

Ms. Kersh is also on the forefront of designing new pay models for ad agencies. She stresses that she wants to help find solutions that work for everyone, client included.

Working in partnership with the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Ms. Kersh says ad agencies perform a multitude of distinct services. "They're consultants, creatives; they execute those concepts like producers; they're media planners and buyers, and looking at all the areas," she says. "There is one labor-based compensation model. We're trying to break that down and come up with structures that work."

Such structures might include ad agencies buying stakes in their clients' firms or receiving a portion of sales revenue.

Mr. Hicks says Ms. Kersh is ever available and is "amazing about being part of our team 24/7." She's also someone who never says no, but "rather, 'Here's how I'd do that to mitigate whatever myriad of issues might exist.' "
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