Do you enjoy advocating for performers? Negotiating contracts? Defending labor rights? Then you’d probably enjoy being an entertainment lawyer! Entertainment law requires a good foundation in areas of law like labor, intellectual property, contracts, and more. To ensure your best shot at a rewarding career, you’ll need to aim for the best school in your target area of law. To guide you, take a look at this list of some of the best entertainment law schools in the US. We’ve included these schools based on their successful alumni, courses offered, and programs.
Ranked # 17 Among all Law Schools
It’s only natural that UCLA (The University of California at Los Angeles School of Law) is at the top of the list of best entertainment law schools! In fact, the Hollywood Reporter lists it as #1. Located in Los Angeles, there may be no better place to get an education and build a network right away.
UCLA’s benefits include the Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law. At this center, students are invited to hear talks from, network with, and attend events among executives from Hollywood and leading entertainment-related businesses. And this all starts from their first year of law school!
In their second year, students take courses in areas like copyright, film finance, and patent law. They also have the chance to participate in externships (more observational than traditional internships).
And perhaps one of the coolest pluses is that students can do externships at prestigious companies like NBCUniversal, Lionsgate, WB, WME, CBS, FOX, and SAG-AFTRA.
USC Gould School of Law
Ranked # 19 Among all Law Schools
Like UCLA Law, USC Gould offers students courses taught by qualified faculty, externships, and renowned a conference for entertainment law related professionals. In additional, their annual Institute on Entertainment Law and Business is a major educational and networking event. For example, talks are given on relevant topics like:
- The Industry: Trends, Fads and Transformation, Superdeals: The Expanding Multiverse of Comic Books
- Fasten Your Headsets: The New Reality is Virtual, New Media and the Guilds: Rates, Rules and Residuals
- Mapping Music’s Evolving Global Geometry
So, attorneys attend to learn and earn continuing education credits. And USC full-time law students get a hefty discount to attend! ($100 vs. the $410 standard price.) It works out to be a great promotional event for the university, giving their program credibility and setting their students up to succeed.
Next, when it comes to coursework, students can earn a Certificate in Media and Entertainment Law or a Certificate in Technology and Entrepreneurship Law.
The mandatory courses for the Media and Entertainment Law Certificate are:
- Intellectual Property or Copyright, Trademark and Related Rights
- Business Organizations
And the mandatory courses for the Technology and Entrepreneurship Law Certificate are:
- Patent Law
- Business Organizations
Finally, it’s great to know that there’s plenty of positive feedback from students at USC Gould. To start, this feedback includes the fact that “courses are taught by real, practicing attorneys in the field.” Additionally, they appreciate that USC consistently offers them affordable opportunities. Lastly, they like that they are trusted to immediately start doing real work. In other words, they can hit the ground running!
Stanford Law School
Ranked # 2 Among all Law Schools
Next up, we take a look at Stanford Law School. It also makes the top 12 list at The Hollywood Reporter for top entertainment law schools. However, it doesn’t specifically offer a program of study for this area of law.
But, students should consider the benefit of Stanford being in California, its being a number-2-ranked law school, and offering courses in and relating to entertainment law.
First, students can take Law 1020, or “Entertainment Law.” “This course is intended to approach the study of entertainment law from a practical perspective, applying the principles of traditional legal disciplines to avoid problems and find solutions in various facets of the entertainment industry.
Students will study from the macro level to the micro level, look at key litigation issues, and analyze digital media. This is in addition to many other entertainment law related issues. Ultimately, students should be able to understand the role of these attorneys in the business.
Next, to support Stanford students aiming to focus on entertainment law, there’s the Stanford Entertainment and Sports Law Association (SESLA). Through this organization, students support each other through job search information, organizing speakers, and information on upcoming workshops.
Harvard Law School
Ranked # 2 Among all Law Schools
At the end of our list is Harvard Law School. As of 2016, it shares the 2nd place ranking with Stanford Law.
There are plenty of resources for students interested in entertainment law at Harvard! Although it’s not on the west coast, it makes up for it in prestige and opportunities.
To start, there are clinics like the Transactional Law Clinic’s Recording Artists Project. The project helps performers, record labels, and other entertainment entrepreneurs with trademark, copyright, business, and other issues.
Also offered is the Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law, or CSEL. They “work to bring together students and faculty who are interested in the intersection of the sports and entertainment industries and the law.”
Lastly, students can write for the Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law. (Reading the journal on its site might give you some great insight into the issues you’ll face as an attorney in the field!)