The dynein light intermediate chain (LIC) is a subunit unique to the cytoplasmic form of dynein, but how it contributes to dynein function is not fully understood. Previous work has established that the LIC homodimer binds directly to the dynein heavy chain and may mediate the attachment of dynein to centrosomes and other cargoes. Here, we report our characterization of the LIC in Drosophila. Unlike vertebrates, in which two Lic genes encode multiple subunit isoforms, the Drosophila LIC is encoded by a single gene. We determined that the single LIC polypeptide is phosphorylated, and that different phosphoisoforms can assemble into the dynein motor complex. Our mutational analyses demonstrate that, similar to other dynein subunits, the Drosophila LIC is required for zygotic development, germline specification of the oocyte, and mitotic cell division. We show that RNA interference depletion of LIC in Drosophila S2 cells does not block the recruitment of a dynein complex to kinetochores, but it does delay inactivation of Mad2 signaling and mitotic progression. Our observations suggest the LIC contributes to a broad range of dynein functions.