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Lita Rosario-Richardson

A Star Entertainment Lawyer Who Works for Industry Stars

Article by Marie Robey Wood

Photography by Tony Powell

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

Working as an entertainment lawyer sounds like an incredibly glamorous and exciting occupation, and often it can be. Lita Rosario-Richardson, of the law firm Shulman Rogers, knows what it’s like to attend awards ceremonies like the Grammys and work alongside celebrities.  

However, as one of the few women working in this legal space, Lita also knows the hard work involved to successfully represent recording artists. She has made it her mission to ensure that her clients receive critical information in the first contract signing to help them maximize earning potential over the long term, including royalties. She is also an expert in “copyright recapture,” which involves securing ownership rights for songs.

Originally from Boston, Lita attended Howard University as an undergraduate – rooming with singer-songwriter Crystal Waters and recruiting Vice President Kamala Harris to join the school’s debate team – and graduated from Howard Law School in 1986. Her legal experience includes working on Wall Street and then in Washington, D.C. for the Securities and Exchange Commission. She explains that her time spent in corporate law “was an excellent training ground that helped me be the entertainment lawyer I am today; it allowed me to review entertainment contracts with the same scrutiny that I would review corporate merger and acquisition documents.” 

Lita’s first job representing artists came when she helped negotiate a recording contract for Crystal Waters with the Basement Boys, a producer team from Baltimore. That experience ultimately led to her becoming a co-founder/owner and VP of Business and Legal Affairs for music production company University Music Entertainment; producing multi-platform recording groups such as Dru Hill (How Deep is Your Love), Sisqó (Thong Song), MYA, Lita later went on to represent Missy Elliott and Tank. 

In 1998, she was ready to hang out her shingle as an entertainment lawyer. For 24 years, Lita was the principal of WYZ Girl Entertainment. Most significantly, she secured back royalties for many artists including Peaches & Herb, Das EFX and consulted for Missy Elliott’s team on copyright ownership. Now, she also advises artists' estates, from the Zapp and Levert estates to former members of Cameo and others. Lita has also acted as an expert/consultant in litigation matters involving Roger & Zapp and other artists. She represented clients in songwriter and author disputes for the mega-hit records “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, “Blame It on the Alcohol”, and “Suit & Tie,” securing ownership rights for these clients.  She has negotiated with all of the major record distribution and music publishing companies.

Rosario-Richardson joined Shulman Rogers, one of the Capital Region's largest law firms, in 2022 because she recognized her clients had many other legal needs besides entertainment.  As the firm’s leading entertainment practice lawyer, she states: “I want to be able to deliver the other services that my clients need, whether for their personal legal needs, medical malpractice, buying and selling properties, or wills and trusts, Shulman Rogers can service those other needs.”

Lita oversees both litigation and contract negotiation, with nearly a hundred clients ranging from artists, managers, agents, publicists, stylists, industry executives, book authors, literary agents and even investors in the entertainment space. She even finds time to provide consulting services for start-ups on entertainment matters and assisting fashion designers, software developers and other creators with trademark and branding matters.

She is generous with her time, serving on the board of directors of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association and previously on the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Recording Academy (Grammy) Board of Governors, among other associations. Additionally, she has been teaching since the 90’s as an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s Music Department and, more recently, at American University’s Kogod School of Business. 

Lita is also a mentor to students and young lawyers; she counsels young women that although their careers are important, having a family is equally important, both of which are not without compromise. Never having children of her own and after her sister passed from cancer in 2011, Lita played a major role in raising her niece and nephew, who is now in his medical residency for psychology.

In her “spare time,” Lita also enjoys home decorating, having once co-owned an antiques store on Capitol Hill with her mother, and recently renovated the new home she shares with her husband Ralph Richardson in Avenel.

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