Lesley Rosenthal is the chief legal officer of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. Since 2005 she has led the legal and governance functions of the world's largest and most comprehensive performing arts center. She serves as a key member of the senior executive team, advocating for the organization and its progress at a time of unusual challenge, growing complexity, and consequential change.
Ms. Rosenthal has counseled Lincoln Center's 67-member board, which has overarching responsibility for the complex's financial and physical resources, its organizational health and progress, and relations among its eleven resident organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, and The Juilliard School.
She has fashioned the legal and operational context for Lincoln Center's 37 interrelated redevelopment projects - at a cost of $1.2 billion, the second-largest construction project in New York after Ground Zero - which is now virtually complete and has been hailed as a triumph by critics, audiences, artists and community members. She enjoys relationships of trust and credibility with key City officials and agencies, and has realized the promise of hundreds of millions of dollars of public funding for the projects.
Ms. Rosenthal leads the legal review of Lincoln Center's own cultural activities such as the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Lincoln Center Festival, the Great Performers and American Songbook Series, the Live from Lincoln Center television program, and the Lincoln Center Institute for Arts in Education. She is also part of an interdisciplinary management team that is modernizing how Lincoln Center manages its retail and garage operations, restaurants, fashion industry deals, marketing, fundraising and publishing activities. She is piloting initiatives on digital media, real estate/operational projects, and international consultancies.
Together with Lincoln Center's CEO and key trustees, Ms. Rosenthal has created a new model for the procurement of legal services by a nonprofit organization by developing the Counsels' Council, an advisory group of leading lawyers from 25 major law firms and in-house legal departments who together provide close to $2m per year of strategic counsel and legal advice on a pro bono basis.
Ms. Rosenthal is active as a lecturer, panelist, and moderator on the arts, cultural policy, corporate governance and law at the New York State Judicial Institute, the Presidential Summit of the State Bar Association, the U.S.-Asia Institute, and the law schools at Harvard, Fordham, Georgetown, and NYU.
Her publications include a forthcoming book, Good Counsel: Meeting the Legal Needs of Nonprofits (John Wiley & Sons, 2012), as well as several op-ed pieces and law review articles including, "Nonprofits Have Big Role in State," Crains New York Business (Nov. 14, 2010); "Building on Progress is Key to the Arts," Newsday, Dec. 16, 2008; "Redeveloping Corporate Governance Structures: Not-for-Profit Governance During Major Capital Projects," 76 FORD. L. REV. 929 (2007); and "How Not to Govern: Lessons from the Report to the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution," N.Y.B.J. Nov/Dec 2007.
Ms. Rosenthal serves on the governing bodies and the Audit Committees of the New York State Bar Association and its Foundation, and in 2006-07 chaired the 2,600-member Commercial & Federal Litigation Section. She has served on many nonprofit boards including Isaac Stern's foundation and the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts.
Ms. Rosenthal was honored by the National Organization for Women (NOW-nyc) as a Woman of Power and Influence in June 2011. At the invitation of the Dean of Harvard Law School, she delivered the Traphagen Distinguished Alumni Lecture in 2010.
For thirteen years, until December 2004, Ms. Rosenthal was a litigation and technology lawyer in private practice at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. She serviced clients in the media/entertainment, financial, and real estate sectors, representing clients before federal and state trial courts, courts of appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She began her legal career as a federal judicial law clerk in Manhattan.
She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 1986 and received her law degree from Harvard in 1989. She has remained active in alumni affairs as a fundraiser and contributor.
Ms. Rosenthal resides in Westchester County and Manhattan with her husband, the jazz pianist/ composer/educator Ted Rosenthal, and two sons.