No, Lehmann Strobel PC was not founded in a garage — but our roots are just as modest. Lehmann Strobel PC was established in 1996 by Walter G. Lehmann and Sylvia L. Strobel in the spare bedroom of their small Victorian home in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Strobel, who had just completed a Masters in Business Administration from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota, had been working in the broadcasting industry for six years and was serving as Deputy General Counsel and Director of Business Affairs at Twin Cities Public Television. Lehmann was a sole proprietor providing legal advice on a wide range of business issues — and renovating their home in his spare time. Lehmann’s sister, who had had a long history in public television, persuaded Lehmann and Strobel to help her write a how-to book on film and television production which they jokingly referred to as the “Cookbook.” The Cookbook went through several drafts before it was shelved when Lehmann’s sister decided that instead of writing about film and television production, she would try her hand at producing her own independent feature film. Lehmann was retained as legal counsel for the project (later released as “Homo Heights”) and got a crash course in entertainment law. At the same time, Strobel put her MBA to work and developed a business plan for a new kind of law firm.
Like all good ideas, the concept behind Lehmann Strobel PC was simple but profound. We would provide specialized legal and business affairs services to independent producers in the growing film and television market. Many of these producers were small start-up companies with great ideas, plenty of passion, but little or no experience with business or legal issues. Lehmann and Strobel understood that these independent producers did not have the resources to hire large-firm lawyers and could not afford their own in-house business affairs staff. They needed efficient, affordable help managing their business transactions, and lawyers who really understood how the film and television industry worked.
An early ad sums up the firm’s philosophy: “WHEN THAT BIG CABLE NETWORK IN NEW YORK BUYS YOUR PITCH, PUT THEM IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT…LEHMANN STROBEL PC.” (RealScreen magazine, May 2002: 27). Over the years, Lehmann Strobel has had the privilege of helping hundreds of clients around the world develop, exploit and protect their creative works. While the media industry has changed dramatically over the years, Lehmann Strobel PC remains dedicated to providing its clients with the same efficient, affordable help with their legal and business affairs that prompted the creation of our firm.