Entertainment Law Thrives at LMU Loyola Law School


Adjunct Professor Lee Straus '96, NBC Network Entertainment executive vice president, recently took his students to the set of "The Voice."

In just one recent lunch hour, LMU Loyola Law School students had the opportunity to glean advice and chat with alumni in top business & legal affairs positions at the syndication arm of 20th Century Fox Television, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and NBC Network Entertainment. In fact, LLS alumni occupy so many top Hollywood legal positions that The Hollywood Reporter named LMU Loyola Law School among the top 11 law schools in the country as part of its Power Lawyers 2020 Report.

Entertainment law is an increasingly important part of the law school's curriculum. Lawyers and executives from top studios, law firms and Hollywood unions regularly visit campus to meet with students and professors about emerging issues in their practice areas. LLS’s IP Speaker Series draws preeminent scholars in the field. In addition, the law school hosts prominent industry events such as TechTainment, a recurring look at the impact of innovation on entertainment held with the Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association.

Entertainment law is increasingly a focus of Loyola’s story arc thanks to a range of new and ongoing initiatives:

Entertainment Fellowship Program Creates Pipeline of Future Lawyers

The Entertainment Fellowship Program is a unique partnership program between LLS and top Hollywood studios and law firms designed to create a pipeline of highly qualified, ready-to-perform lawyers through unique training, mentorship and networking opportunities. Selected students are paired with an industry mentor at the start of their first academic year. Entertainment Fellows are guaranteed a position in legal or business affairs during their tenure at LLS and ongoing engagement with their industry mentor.

Professors Bring Real-World Studio Experience to Classroom

Marty Willhite, the former chief operating officer and general counsel of Legendary Entertainment, recently joined the law school as the Practice Professor of Media, Entertainment and Technology. Already an LLS adjunct professor of Mergers & Acquisitions, Willhite will draw on his vast Hollywood experience to create connections and opportunities to enhance the education of the law school's entertainment law students. Willhite, who helped helm Legendary during its run of hits including the “Hangover” and “Dark Knight” series, is now vice-chairman of Tulco, LLC, an operating company focused on creating value through technological innovation.

Willhite joins a roster of seasoned entertainment law professors. They include Professor Jay Dougherty, who served in top posts at 20th Century Fox, Turner Broadcasting System and other major studios. Glaser Weil LLP Entertainment Department Head Barbara Rubin, named to Variety’s Legal Impact Report, helps guide the Entertainment Law Practicum, which places students in entertainment law externships. Meanwhile, Professor Jennifer Rothman is a sought-after consultant on issues related to right of publicity in celebrity cases such as the recent lawsuit by actress Olivia de Havilland challenging her portrayal in the FX series, “Feud.”

Students Specialize with Entertainment & Media Law Areas of Focus

LMU Loyola Law School offers students the ability to focus on entertainment law in its JD, MLS and LLM programs. JD students may select from two Entertainment & New Media Law tracks: Advocacy and Transactional. Participating students have access to customized guidance and exclusive experiential opportunities. Additionally, students of all three degree programs are able to select from LLS's vast array of entertainment law offerings, including Digital Media & the Law, Law & Practice with the Hollywood Guilds, Law of Video Games & Online Virtual Worlds and Reality TV & New Media Production & Distribution.

LLS Alumni Make Their Mark on Hollywood

LMU Loyola Law School’s alumni base of 17,000+ includes many in the upper echelons of Hollywood studios and their supporting law firms, including those named to Variety’s prestigious Legal Impact Report. LLS alumni on the list include:

  • Joseph Mannis '71, Hersh Mannis LLP
  • Zia F. Modabber '88, Katten
  • Tom Ara '99, DLA Piper
  • Ashley Silver '14, Brecheen et al
  • Amanda Taber '16, Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Shaun Clark '96, Sheppard Mullin LLP
  • Barbara Rubin '78, Glaser Weil LLP
  • Russell Weiss '94, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Amy Siegel '05, O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Read more about how LLS alumni retain strong presences in the worlds of music and sports law.

Want to make a difference in the world of entertainment? Register for a campus visit and find out more.