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Anthony Mendoza’s core practice is representing internet service providers, which puts him in the middle of issues such as net neutrality and internet privacy. He also helps entertainment clients form record labels, establish band agreements and set up limited liability corporations. And he plays guitar and sings in a band when time allows. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)
Anthony Mendoza’s core practice is representing internet service providers, which puts him in the middle of issues such as net neutrality and internet privacy. He also helps entertainment clients form record labels, establish band agreements and set up limited liability corporations. And he plays guitar and sings in a band when time allows. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Breaking the Ice: Varied experience hits right note for solo

Name: Anthony Mendoza

Title: Owner, Mendoza Law

Education: B.A., financial management, University of St. Thomas; J.D., Drake University Law School

Anthony Mendoza has leveraged his varied professional background to forge a unique practice working with communications, technology and entertainment clients at St. Paul-based Mendoza Law.

Mendoza has worked as a professional musician in a touring band, an attorney at Fredrikson & Byron and a deputy commerce commissioner under Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Since 2003, Mendoza has owned his own firm, St. Paul-based Mendoza Law.

Mendoza no longer tours but plays guitar, bass and sings in a band when time allows. He co-founded the Minnesota Music Coalition, a nonprofit statewide service organization for musicians, in 2010.

The core of his practice today is representing internet service providers, which puts him in the middle of issues such as net neutrality and internet privacy.

He also helps entertainment clients form record labels, establish band agreements and set up limited liability corporations. And he advises them on revenue streams from copyright ownership and licensing.

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. I like to warm up a little bit. Small talk is a good way: Where are you from? What do you do? I need to warm up to people before I’m willing to open up to people.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. Robert Caro’s “Master of the Senate,” the third volume of his series on Lyndon B. Johnson.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. A lack of follow-through.

Q. What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A. I enjoy public policy, analyzing how larger political trends affect my clients. I pay attention to that and do some work at the Capital on the state Legislature for my clients.

Q. Least favorite?

A. I own my own firm, so paying bills is probably the least favorite part of my job.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. Writing and performing music. I still have a band. I’m not able to play as much as I would like to.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A. I’d take them to see some live local music. I love the Turf Club. The Music Coalition has been doing a lot of house parties as fund-raisers. Those are really fun. They’re usually small shows so you get to mingle with the artists before and after the show and get a great intimate performance.

Q. Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most?

A. I clerked for the Iowa Supreme Court for a year. The judge I clerked for, Bruce Snell, I greatly admired his professionalism and his judgment, his manner about which he did his job. Always in a very professional, positive, encouraging way.

 Q. What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney?

A. I do have a unique practice, so when I say I’m a lawyer it always takes a little more explanation about what I do. I think most people have in mind a lawyer goes to court, essentially, and that’s a small portion of what I do. Not every lawyer does what you see on television.

Q. What was the last arts or cultural event you attended?

A. My daughter dances for Tu dance. I went to their showcase a couple of weekends ago and it’s one of my favorite art events of the year. The last music event I went to was a house concert where Charlie Parr performed. It was amazing.

Q. What, if any, is your favorite depiction of the law or the legal professional in popular culture?

A. “My Cousin Vinny.” I love the resourcefulness of the lawyer in that case. Not a lot of skills to work with at the beginning, but he figured out how to get the job done with what he had. As a solo, you face those kinds of resource limitations quite a bit. You do the best job that you can with the resources that you have.

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