Karlanna Lewis is an associate in McKool Smith Hennigan's Los Angeles office. She focuses her practice on commercial litigation. At McKool Smith Hennigan Ms. Lewis has served on the winning trial team in the matter of Quincy Jones v. MJJ Productions. The dispute involved the landmark albums Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad, for which Michael Jackson’s estate had failed to pay Mr. Jones his full contractual royalties. Together the team secured a multi-million dollar verdict on behalf of the legendary music producer.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Lewis was an associate at a leading international law firm. In her prior practice Ms. Lewis assisted in the criminal defense of an international client accused of appropriating confidential government information and worked on the trial team defending auditors accused of an alleged multi-billion dollar accounting fraud.
As a law student, Ms. Lewis helped clients prepare asylum applications as part of her work with the immigration clinic. At Yale, Ms. Lewis was an Articles Editor for the Journal of Law & Humanities, a member of the Thomas Lecture Committee and a Moot Court competitor. She also worked as a Research Coordinator at Yale, served as a Dean’s Advisor at the law school and aided professors as a Teaching Assistant at the School of Management. While at Yale Ms. Lewis was a Kirby-Simon Fellow in human rights and was awarded the Dean's Scholarship. Interested in understanding the legal systems of other countries, Ms. Lewis spent four weeks meeting with various officials in Argentina as part of Yale’s Linkages program, and she worked as a legal intern at the Mental Disability Advocacy Center in Budapest, Hungary. She continues to serve on the Yale Law School Executive Committee.
In her final semester, Ms. Lewis developed her own curriculum and taught a Yale Law School course on criminal law through the lens of hip hop. Passionate about the ways justice and rap music intersect, Ms. Lewis has written several articles around the criminalization of hip hop culture for publications including The Atlantic and The Washington Monthly.
She is fluent in Russian and conversant in Spanish.
Media & Events
- "When Rap Music is a Crime" - The Atlantic
- "Hip Hop Is Down by Law (Just Don’t Take it to the Court)" - Washington Monthly
- "Criminalizing Hip Hop" - Washington Monthly
J.D., M.B.A, Yale Law School and Yale School of Management, 2015
B.A., summa cum laude, Russian and Creative Writing, Florida State University, 2011
- State of California
- State of Florida
- U.S. District Courts for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California
- U.S. District Courts for the Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- American Bar Association
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
- Los Angeles County Bar Association