Attorney Alexandria Mueller’s law career began with her desire to protect her own creative work. Mueller had begun composing music as a child, and while in college, her competitive composition wins resulted in publishing offers, prompting a quest to understand how to protect her intellectual property. She took a business law class with a professor who was also an artist manager, and she later asked to do an independent study course with him in music copyright law.
“During the semester, I realized the more I learned, the more there was to know,” she says. “I told him, ‘I think I need to go law school,’ and he agreed.”
Mueller did go to law school, and she graduated cum laude from Mitchell Hamline in 2016. “Understanding the business side of music is crucial to your success as an artist,” she says. “I went to law school to learn how to run my own publishing better. But, while I was in law school, it became apparent that other composers didn’t know how to protect their work either. I had the opportunity to help them. A lot of my first clients were classmates from music school.”
Following law school, Mueller maintained a solo law practice and continued to teach music and compose film scores. A few years in, she realized that with more resources, she could help a lot more people. Mueller joined Hellmuth & Johnson in 2019, just as the firm was celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“At Hellmuth & Johnson, I’ve been able to keep developing my current practice area with all the resources we have and have access to lawyers in other practice areas that I can refer my clients to for additional services.”
Mueller advises filmmakers, event vendors, musicians and performing ensembles, composers, artists, authors and game and software developers about how to manage their rights and maximize their market potential. Creatives typically seek her help for transactional matters, including business formation/structure, drafting and negotiating agreements, and intellectual property matters such as copyright and trademark clearance, risk analysis, market strategies and licensing agreements and intellectual property registration and enforcement.
Despite her busy dual career as both an attorney and a composer, Mueller dedicates many hours to the legal profession and community music programs.
She is chair of the sports, art and entertainment law section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and a board member for Able Artist’s Foundation and the Minnesota Music Coalition. She has taught music law/business courses at the Institute of Production and Recording and The University of St. Thomas, and developed a master’s program in international music business with Thinkspace Education (University of Chichester, UK). She authored a chapter on music transactions in the latest edition of the Intellectual Property Deskbook for Business Lawyers and was named a 2021 Up & Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer.
She is particularly passionate about her work with the Very Young Composers’ Project, which she has been involved with for more than 10 years and is currently an associate director. She and her string quartet, Boom Island String Quartet, achieved “Hollywood status” when they performed in the NFL New Orleans Saints team open video — complete with pyrotechnics!
Mueller’s first-hand experience is the bridge between an artist’s creative passions and the practical and legal concerns of art as a business. “When I talk with other artists, many have never met with an attorney and are afraid to reach out. As an artist myself, I know what they’re going through and how to help them achieve their goals to make their art a successful business.”