Biederman Entertainment & Media Law Institute
Southwestern's Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute was established in 2000 to take advantage of the law school's long history of involvement with the entertainment and media industries. The Institute offers a rich spectrum of media and entertainment law courses and experiential learning opportunities under the direction of faculty who have tremendous practical experience in the field.
Southwestern has been recognized as one of the top ten law schools in the country for entertainment law by The Hollywood Reporter eight years in a row, and as #1 in the Top Law Schools for Entertainment Law by lawstreetmedia.com, among other honors.
Connections to the Industry
Southwestern's Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute is intimately connected to a plethora of entertainment and media companies, law firms and other organizations operating in every aspect of the industry. Lawyers and executives from many of these entities participate in various elements of the Institute’s programs.
*Click on the tabs below to learn more about our upcoming and recent events, "A Conversation With..." series, and our Annual MLRC Conference.
A Conversation with Nina Shaw
Tuesday, August 18, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Nina Shaw is a founding partner in the entertainment law firm of Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano. Her practice is in the television, motion picture, and live stage area. A native New Yorker, Nina was born and raised in Harlem and The Bronx, educated in the New York City public school system and is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School. Among her clients are successful and award-winning actors, writers, producers and directors as well as entrepreneurs and entertainment executives. She began her legal career in the Entertainment Department of the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers.
Nina is a Variety Dealmaker Impact honoree and has been named repeatedly to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment Power 100” list. She is a recipient of the WIF Crystal Award, and in 2013 was named Entertainment Lawyer of the Year by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Most recently, she was honored by Essence Magazine with its 2016 Black Women in Hollywood Power Award, and also in 2016 Nina was profiled in the New York Times: “She’s the Hollywood Power Behind Those Seeking a Voice.” In 2019 Nina received Columbia Law School’s prestigious Medal for Excellence Award, the Athena Film Festival Athena Award and the NAACP LDF National Equal Justice Award.
Nina has a long-standing commitment to the education of children and in particular is an advocate for the education of girls and women. She is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs. Additionally, Nina is among the founding organizers of Time’s Up.
All students, attorneys, and industry welcome!
The event is FREE to attend.
RSVPs required. RSVP here: https://bit.ly/RSVPNinaAug18
We will send the Zoom invitation link to those who RSVP by August 18, 2020.
“Whose Song Is It Anyway?” - Presentation by Forensic Musicologist Judith Finell
Saturday, August 22, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
The lecture will consist of a 90-minute presentation,
followed by 30 minutes of Q&A
Judith Finell is a musicologist and the president of Judith Finell Music Services Inc., a music consulting firm in New York and Los Angeles, founded 25 years ago in New York. Since then, she has served as consultant and expert witness involving music copyright infringement, advised on artist career and project development, and a wide variety of music industry topics. Recently, Ms. Finell was honored to be the 2018 commencement speaker at UCLA’s Herb Albert School of Music. She was also interviewed by NBC/Universal for a 2018 documentary entitled “The Universality of Music,” in which she discussed the ways in which she sees music as being an international language that can bridge cultural barriers that spoken language does not.
Judith Finell was the testifying expert for the Marvin Gaye family in the milestone “Blurred Lines” case in Federal Court. She has testified in many other notable copyright infringement trials over the past 20 years. She and her team of musicologists regularly advise HBO, Lionsgate, Grey Advertising, CBS, Warner, Disney, and Sony Pictures on musical works for their commercials, films, and television series. Ms. Finell also frequently advises attorneys, advertising agencies, entertainment and recording companies, publishing firms, and musicians, addressing copyright issues, including those arising from digital sampling, electronic technology, and Internet musical usage.
Ms. Finell was invited to teach forensic musicology at UCLA in 2018, where she continues to teach the only such course in the country. She holds an M.A. degree in musicology from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from UCLA in piano performance. She has written numerous articles and a book in the area of contemporary music and copyright infringement and has appeared in trials on Court TV and before the American Intellectual Property Law Association. She is a trustee of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., and has appeared as a guest lecturer at the law schools of Harvard University, UCLA, Stanford, Columbia, Vanderbilt, George Washington, NYU, and Fordham, as well as the Beverly Hills Bar Assn., LA Copyright Society, and the Association of Independent Music Publishers. She may be reached either by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (310) 301-3338.
All students, attorneys, and industry welcome!
The event is FREE to attend.
RSVPs required. RSVP: www.swlaw.edu/RSVPAug22
We will send the Zoom invitation link to those who RSVP by August 20, 2020.
These informative, insightful, and provocative "IRL living room" conversations with prominent entertainment and media figures are brought to you in collaboration with our Entertainment and the Arts Legal Clinic.
We welcome our Southwestern community, our Clinic clients, fellow HFPA grantees, those in the entertainment practice at large, and others in related fields to join us for these speaker series events.
*The Hollywood Foreign Press Association generously supports Southwestern Law School’s Entertainment and Arts Legal Clinic for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years.
Past guests have included:
- Jeff Toobin, CNN legal and political analyst;
- Arn Tellem, at the time the Vice Chairman and President of the Team Sports Division of Wasserman Media Group, now Vice Chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment which owns the Detroit Pistons;
- Paul Williams, renowned composer, performer and ASCAP President;
- Leah Weil, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Sony Pictures;
- Martin Garbus, renowned trial lawyer, and First Amendment expert.
The Institute regularly co-sponsors symposia with the Entertainment and Intellectual Property Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Los Angeles Copyright Society, the Media Law Resource Center, and other organizations. Additionally, the Institute conducts continuing legal education (CLE) courses on entertainment and media law issues for alumni, practitioners, and laypeople.
Listen and Subscribe to "A Conversation With..." Podcasts
Influential members of the Entertainment, Sports, & Media Law industries discuss their careers and hot-button issues.
You will hear top-notch entertainment, sports, and media lawyers and experts share their journeys and provide insights in conversation style panels discussions with Q&A.
All previously-recorded episodes now available!
Women In Sports Law
Episode 1 • Interview recorded on
October 17, 2019
Episode 2 • Interview recorded on February 11, 2020
Episode 3 • Interview recorded on January 6, 2020
Episode 4 • Interview recorded on February 27, 2020
The DeepfakeS Phenomenon
Episode 5 • Presentation recorded on June 16, 2020
For 17 years, the Media Law Resource Center and Southwestern Law School have hosted an annual forum at which renowned experts discuss the most timely, important and controversial topics in entertainment and media law.
Annual Entertainment and Media Law Conference cosponsored with the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC)
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Southwestern Law School
1 P.M. - 8 P.M.
- Hollywood and the Supreme Court
- Life Rights in the U.S. and Abroad
- Social Media in Crisis
- Shifting Media Landscape
Recognized as one of the internet’s most informative legal news blogs on the entertainment industry, the Biederman Blog is created and maintained by students in the Entertainment Law Blog course.
Participants in the class research, write, edit, and post articles for the blog focused on developments in entertainment law.
In an effort to recognize excellence in academic achievement, and encourage and facilitate career success, the Biederman Institute established the Biederman Scholars program to help expand opportunities for promising future entertainment lawyers.
Each year, three or four outstanding students are selected for this honor. Biederman Scholars participate in a variety of Institute initiatives, including an industry mentor program, behind-the-scenes participation in Biederman Institute programs, and priority placement in entertainment and media company externships and law firm practicums.
The Biederman Scholars can also participate in the entertainment and media law blog, the Biederman Awards event honoring outstanding members of the entertainment and media law community, and other Institute activities.
Biederman Institute Advisory Board and SWEIP
Southwestern's Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute has brought together prominent attorneys and executives from leading entertainment companies, law firms and institutions to serve on its Executive Board. The Institute also works closely with the Southwestern Entertainment and Intellectual Property Alumni Association (SWEIP) which has over 500 members.
The Board and SWEIP play a critical role by helping to connect outstanding students with opportunities for industry experience and future job placement, shaping and focusing the curriculum, developing new programming concepts, and expanding the Institute’s access to speakers and resources.
View SWEIP's LinkedIn group.
Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law
Southwestern's Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute established the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law through a joint venture with the American Bar Association’s Forums on Communications Law and the Entertainment and Sports Industries.
The first of its kind, the Journal addresses all aspects of international and comparative media and entertainment law, including topics related to content, regulation, intellectual property, distribution, publishing, internet and technology, and transactions.
Students are selected to work with the Board of Editors, composed of Biederman Institute faculty and members of the Forum committees, and headed by Supervising Editor, Professor Michael Epstein.