From Los Angeles to London, Entertainment Law Alum Puts Education to Practice for Netflix
Being an attorney for media giant Netflix is much like studying entertainment law at Loyola Law School, according to Whitney Gore, who’s done both.
Gore ’13 has been a Netflix lawyer for nearly three years. She was recently promoted to director and handles legal and business affairs for global original series, focusing on scripted series produced in the United Kingdom.
One reason she loves the work is that it is innovative and very hands-on. “At Netflix, we’re not afraid to rethink what’s traditional and make decisions based on what’s practical rather than theoretical,” she says.
Her education at Loyola, likewise, was nontraditional and practical, especially in its entertainment-related classes, she added.
Entertainment law practice is more practice than law, as Gore sees it – and she appreciated that Loyola’s offerings underscored a similar perspective. “You can actually draft and negotiate a deal,” she says. “You learn the reason that certain provisions in the contracts may not have anything to do with the law so much as to do with the history of how the entertainment business developed.”
Gore’s favorite class at Loyola was Law and Practice with the Hollywood Guilds, taught by Brian Walton, an adjunct professor who was the director of the Writers Guild of America West for many years. As the class’s title says, the emphasis is on how things are done as much as on law.
In Walton’s class, she learned details as about why writers’ contracts guarantee a minimum number of weeks and why actors can only be asked for exclusivity when they’re being paid certain amounts.
“I obtained a very practical education that has been hugely helpful, allowing me to jump in and hit the ground running in entertainment law,” Gore says.
Once she decided to go to law school, that’s just what she did. A native of Canada, Gore attended college at Mt. Holyoke in Massachusetts. She spent her junior year abroad, first studying and working in economics in China and next studying and working in a bookstore in Paris.
There, she connected with a prominent New York publisher who was starting a new company to print books on demand inexpensively at point of sale. After a short stint at an international affairs NGO in Washington, D.C., she joined his company.
Keeping tabs on copyright issues for the start-up revived her interest in becoming a lawyer. She chose Loyola for its Los Angeles location, its wide array of intellectual property and entertainment law classes and its evening program.
She also liked the campus compared to those at other law schools in the area. “Loyola felt the most welcoming and accessible,” she says.
Although she initially enrolled in Loyola’s Day Program, Gore switched to Loyola’s top-ranked Evening Program because she needed to work — which she did, first with a small IP and business law firm and then with a talent agency that specialized in representing television writers.
In January 2014 — just a month after being admitted to practice — she became the first lawyer in the brand-new television group at Legendary Entertainment. “I handled all the legal affairs work from soup to nuts, all the development, all of the production above and below the line, copyright and clearances, labor and marketing,” she says.
Netflix scooped Gore up in 2016. She was promoted from counsel to director earlier this year. Gore has handled the legal work for Netflix offerings like “Sex Education” and “After Life” and now is involved in building out the company’s production and development capabilities in the United Kingdom.
Despite all the time she now spends in London, Gore is still based in Los Angeles, where she has a strong community of friends from Loyola. Gore sees the opportunities offered through her Loyola experience and is committed to giving back and helping the next generation of Loyola students. She supports the trajectory of the school as a Member of the Juris Society and will serve as a mentor to a 1L this fall as a part of Loyola’s Entertainment Law Fellows program.
People in the industry like working with Loyola graduates, she says. “Employers want someone they can have a conversation with and who can be a good partner in negotiating a deal. I think the lawyers who come out of Loyola are very well-rounded.”